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:: Rebellion (L'ordre et la morale)

In April 1988, on Ouvéa Island in the French colony of New Caledonia, 30 policemen are kidnapped by Kanak separatists demanding independence. 300 French special-forces operatives are sent to restore order. What follows is a spectacular political thriller set among the gorgeous backdrop of New Caledonia.

Philippe Legorjus, captain of the GIGN, is caught right in the middle and only has ten days to negotiate a settlement. On one hand he is caught in the middle, wanting to serve his country and leaders, the other, his moral obligation to a group of indigenous people caught in the mire of politics, who are only trying to obtain freedom and respect. To complicate matters, he is caught by Alphonse Dianou, the rebels' leader who also takes six of Legorjus’ men hostage. The two men face off trying to find a peaceful solution based on common values, decency, respect and dialogue.

What follows is a great insight into how people’s minds works, the counter-terrorism officer (Phillipe), the confused rebel leader wanting to do the right thing by his people (Alphonse) and various political leaders all vying for points and one-upmanship, not caring for the outcome of either man and his cause. It’s a sad state of affairs to say a lot of went down over 20 years in New Caledonia still applies in today’s politically turbulent world. You could almost imagine the same scenario being repeated as leaders fought for power and dismissed the loss of life as a mere inconvenience on their way to political glory. Against the backdrop of presidential elections in France, the political stakes are high, and order is not necessarily a moral question.

The film, which was beautifully shot, with some great sequences, and which was also well edited, poses questions as you leave the cinema wondering why politicians have to be so heartless when their future is on the line and don’t take the tack of sparing lives, even the lives of their own countrymen in order to save face. With this violent and troubling sage based on real-life events, Mathieu Kassovitz makes a powerful comeback, both in front of and behind the camera. It’s a tour de force of a film and one which resonates just as strongly today as it did 24 years ago.