JWR Articles: Film/DVD - A Violent Life (Director: Thierry de Peretti) - October 10, 2018

A Violent Life

4.5 4.5
107 min.

Further perils of colonialization

It seems that the passage of time has afforded writers and filmmakers more opportunities than ever to bemoan the far-reaching consequences of colonialization in virtually every corner of the world (cross-references below).

In this instance, Corsica/France where the twin feeders of violent action (courage and fear) explode into senseless deaths, injuries and mayhem related to expelling unwanted foreign usurpers of native inhabitants. This too often leads to ugly, deadly confrontations:

Q: What are you prepared to do for your homeland?
A: Die.

Which can only raise the next question: Why?

In writer-director Thierry de Peretti’s hands (along with co-writer Guillaume Bréaud) the plight of early 21st century activists is largely dealt with in a fair and equitable way.

At the centre of it all is Stéphane (Jean Michelangeli showing much promise in his feature début) whose self-imposed exile to Paris is cut short with the simultaneous assassinations of former colleagues-in-arms Christophe (Henri-Noël Tabary) and Lionel during an inciting incident that most certainly lives up to its name.

From there, the narrative moves along in a largely predictable manner, with excursions to Stéphane’s on-again-off-again love interest, his mother and the doomed leader of the resistance François (Dominique Colombani, a model of strong leadership and stoicism as required).

Thankfully, wisely, the expected acts of death and destruction are mostly seen off screen, adding more weight to the narrative and shying away from sensational, gratuitous violence.

The notion that the “real criminals are in [fill in your own blank for exploitative countries}” strikes as much of a chord as the—ultimately—hollow “victories” of the “insurgents”.

Like so many conflicts over the centuries, there are no winners or losers—just the grim reality that young men with a passion for making their version of the “world as a better place” will, more often than not, die on the road to achieving their aims. JWR

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Director - Thierry de Peretti
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