They were French prisoners of Algerian FLN during the War of Independence (1954-1962) and spent weeks, months or even years in the hands of the enemy. Forgotten by history, they were 20 years old and remember it all. Their ordeal, updated by the investigation of historian Raphaëlle Branche allows a new approach of today’s relations between France and Algeria.

French initial refusal to consider the “Algerian events” as fundamentally political would have a bearing upon the manner in which the war was conducted, and how the French armed forces behaved on the ground. Although the normal peacetime framework would rapidly fail to provide adequate justification for repressive force, France never actually assumed the situation to be a war. At the same time, the international laws of war were not deemed relevant and therefore France did not have to comply with them. The FLN took the opportunity of 1949 Geneva Convention on POWs to bring their struggle on the international scene by asking the Red Cross to visit their French POWs.

Beyond a technical study of the FLN’s deployment, organisation, methods, and efficiency, beyond its tactics and strategy, the film gives a political reading of the military aspects of the war.

Rémi Lainé

Rémi Lainé made his debut alongside Daniel Karlin, specializing in documentaries sagas : Love in France, Justice in France … For fifteen years, he alternates intimate productions “20 years le bel age”, “HIV Born” a singular approach of thundering cases “Outreau, our history” and films internationally oriented as “Global gay” or Khmer Rouge : a simple matter of justice. “Prisoners of FLN” is his second collaboration with historian Raphaëlle Branche after “Palestro, histoires d’une embuscade” 2011.