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Afrique 50 + To Be 20 in the Aurès (18*)

Returning the Colonial Gaze

A still from Afrique 50

This double bill presents two famous anti-colonial films by French activist filmmaker René Vautier, the self-described 'most censored director in France'.

For this screening we pair Afrique 50, a scathing expose of French colonial rule, with To Be 20 in the Aurès, a searing critique of the Algerian War. To Be 20 in the Aurès follows seven days in the life of a military unit composed of young French conscripts. Held first at a harsh training camp then sent off to fight in the desolate Aurès Mountains, they become ruthless killing machines.

Over a wide-ranging career, René Vautier made over 150 films on many different issues and his work brought him into regular conflict with the authorities. Many of his films were banned or condemned; Afrique 50 even landed him in jail. Censored for over 40 years in France, the film is now celebrated there as the country’s first anti-colonial film.

France 1950 Dir René Vautier 17 min Digital presentation
Film restored by the Cinémathèque de Bretagne

France 1972 Dir René Vautier 93 min Digital presentation
Film restored by La Cinémathèque française

Cinématheque de Bretagne


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