“May God forgive those who tore you from your families.”
Our Brothers is the latest International Feature film for Algeria and it becomes the eighth submission now for acclaimed director Rachid Bouchareb. The film is focused on the student protests against a university reform bill in Paris in 1986. These demonstrations led to brutal attacks from the police force which resulted in the deaths of two innocent young men, Malik and Abdel. The film is based on real events.
The film begins in December 6th, 1986 as an internal affairs police officer is brought to the forensics lab to investigate the death of Abdel. He was shot by a drunken police officer during a bar fight that he was trying to stop. The father of Abdel and his eldest brother are not allowed to see him, nor do they know that he is dead.
On the same night, Sarah and Mohamed, a brother and sister, are worried that their other sibling Malik isn’t returning any of their phone calls, nor is he in his apartment the next morning. As they start to get more worried, they begin to call hospitals and the police to see if he’s ok. And their discovery is a truly heartbreaking moment.
The film focuses on the next few days following that dark night.
Director Bouchareb has created a heartbreaking film recreating the events that happened in Paris during a tumultuous time in France. He was able to blend in perfectly the usage of archive footages to show actual moments that occurred during this time. It made the film feel very authentic. The film is shot with a sense of coldness and bleakness. And it’s all told very delicately and accurately. Police brutality and the loss of innocent lives have been on the forefront of the news for the past few years, not only in the USA but in France as well. And the lack of consequences for policemen who commit such atrocious crimes still needs to be addressed. The film is a reminder that these transgressions are continuing to happen today. And it’s a film remembering the lives that have been lost. It’s a film dedicated to our fallen brothers.