To mark the UK DVD release of Rachid Bouchareb’s Palme d’Or nominee Outside the Law (Hors la loi, 2010), the Paris-born director kindly agreed to answer a few short questions from CineVue’s Russell Cook regarding the film’s highly topical subject matter and themes, and also explains where he draws influence from for his films.
Russell Cook: Why did you decide to revisit the controversial issue of the Algerian struggle for independence?
Rachid Bouchareb: Outside the Law is an important film because it deals with a subject that has never been approached in the cinema before, the struggle for Algerian freedom within France itself. And the Algerian War remains a source of tension between France and Algeria.
RC: Being French, and of Algerian descent, how important for you is it that your films address the history of the complex relationship between France and Algeria.
RB: Outside the Law is, above all, a film dealing with immigration and its contribution to the Algerian War. I was born in France and always remember hearing talk of war taking place on French territory.
RC: Given recent events in North Africa and the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ what added significance does Outside the Law take on?
RB: The Arab Spring and Outside the Law have the same roots – injustice and the deprivation of freedom. People will always revolt against these things.
RC: What do you set out to achieve with your films and why do you think they continue to appeal to cineaste’s on an international level?
RB: I recount, first and foremost, things that I feel or have lived or have come across. If my films have an international dimension or appeal it is because they deal with themes that are universal.
RC: Finally, what inspires you as a filmmaker and who would you say has been an influence on your own style of filmmaking?
RB: I am inspired by what has been lived. History inspires me, but above all, that part of it that the official record has forgotten to write about or has not wished to write about: colonialism, for example.