Skip to content




On February 11, 1957, Fernand Iveton, a young communist worker
devoted to the struggle for Algerian independence, became
the only Algerian of European background to be executed as a
political prisoner by the French authorities during Algeria’s War
of Independence. Though his lawyers had appealed to the highest
ranks of the French government, including future socialist president
François Mitterrand, then Minister of Justice, Iveton’s case held too
much symbolic weight to allow for leniency. He was guillotined for
planting a bomb that did not go off, in a location where he had made
certain the explosion would harm no one. With his second feature,
writer-director Hélier Cisterne recreates the tragic true story of
a young man who died for his ideals, leaving behind a loving wife
and adoptive son, as a sweeping film whose passionate love story,
suspenseful flashback structure, and immaculate period detail
evoke a largely bygone era of sophisticated, meaningful popular
entertainment. Moving smoothly between Paris and Algiers,
Cisterne plunges us into the heart of a conflict that continues
to resonate in contemporary France, North Africa, and beyond,
providing a chilling reminder of colonial tyranny, as well as a hopeful
example of a man who chose humanity over politics and profit.

Rome 2020