J'ai vu tuer Ben Barka (2005)

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Director: Serge Le Péron
Cast: Charles Berling, Simon Abkarian, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Josiane Balasko, Mathieu Amalric


During the 1960s in Paris an opportunist racketeer with connections to the intelligentsia and the corridors of power is exploited by the agents of the reactionary government of decolonized Morocco in order that they may liquidate the eponymous dissident in exile. They do so by recruiting him as producer on a planned documentary about decolonization, citing Ben Barka as their desired source and technical adviser.

The Review

The flimsiest of premises, one might think, since Figon, the film's dead narrator (Sunset Boulevard-style), has no previous film experience. However, as the chilling reality gradually dawns that the project in which he is a willing pawn and which has the complicity even of the French Secret Services is no more than an elaborate plot to assassinate a future world leader of Guevaran proportions, the film becomes a superior political thriller of which Costa Gavras would be proud. The acting is first rate, as expected, and boasts classy impersonations of Marguerite Duras and Georges Franju. All in all, a rather baleful look at what turned out to be a pretty depressing decade across the Channel.