Free Men

Synopsis: Paris, occupied France, 1942. Younes, an uneducated Algerian immigrant, ekes out a very modest living on the black market. When the police catches him they set him free provided he infiltrates the Paris Mosque and spies on the rector. Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit is indeed suspected not only of providing false papers to Jews but of harboring some of them as well. Once within the precincts of the Mosque, Younes proves a poor secret agent, which displeases the police inspector in charge of him. In fact, at the mosque, Younes becomes every day more alert to the great tragedy in progress because of the Nazis. He also develops a deep friendship with a singer named Salim Halali. To his amazement, he discovers that Salim is both Jewish and homosexual...
Director(s): Ismaël Ferroukhi
Production: Film Movement
  2 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
99 min

This film is inspired by

real events.

In 1939, the last wave of immigration

from North Africa occured.

Fleeing poverty workers from

Algeria and Morocco were drawn ...

to Paris to work in factories

and on construction sites.

The war and German occupation brought

an end to this immigration.

Most returned home,

a few remained.

Unemployed and with no help

in occupied Paris.

Are you okay?

What have you got on you?

lets eat?

Do you have coffee?

I want coffee and cigarettes.

How much is that?


I also'd like some cigarettes.

And you?


Give me cigarettes.

In exchange for this derbouka.

What do you mean?

It's all I have left.

I have nothing left.

It's worth money.

It was El Hadj El Anka's

That's true.

Any post, Maryvonne?

-No, nothing.

I was looking for you.

What is it, Ali?

It is difficult.

There are more and more controls.

Be careful.

-I know.

I've lost many customers.

Listen, Younes ...


We will organize ourselves.

Tonight meeting. Are you coming?

That's not for me.

Does your father know

where your money comes from?

Stay out of it.

You know why I'm here.

To earn as much money as I can

before I go back home.

Dear brother, I hope you

This letter reads in health.

Did you receive my money?

I hope the work on your house

is going well. Here everything is okay.

Cousin Ali also.

We often work in the factory.

I miss you.

Police. Open up.

Come with me.

ldentity Control. Against the wall.

Search the rooms.

What's this?

Bring him.


Answer the inspector's question.

Where is Ali hiding?

like I said:
I know nothing.

He tells me nothing.

Don't lie to me.

I know nothing.

Who was that food for then?

For myself.

Lock him up.


Younes Bendaoud ...


How long have you been in Paris?

-Since 1939.

Are you practicing?

What do you mean?

Do you go to the mosque?

Sometimes, on holidays.

I have a suggestion.

If you help us ...

you can continue selling contraband.

What should I do?

-Go to the mosque.

I want to know what happens there.

Who visits the director.

Report all foreigners.


Younes, are you okay?

Take some.

This is the Quran that I was talking about.

A personal gift from the sultan.

It's very precious to us.

Do you see? All the letters are gold.

Very beautiful.

Tell me, excellence ...

How is our case going?

I sent him the dossier.

It is now with the king in Rabat.

It's only a matter

of weeks, if not days.

I'm very grateful.

A nice suit.

It's big party today.

The birthday of the Prophet.

Everyone has their finest clothes.

-How do you say it again? Mabrouke!

Why, you speak well.

Major, if I may?

A young Algerian singer.

Not so well known,

but he's going to be.

One of the most beautiful voices

in the Arab world.

I must go.

-As you wish. I'll accompany you.

Want some?

I have a derbouka for sale.


Show me.

-I can bring it tomorrow.

After I am going to The Andalussia.

Do you know it?

Come along.

What do you want?

-I've come to see Salim.


A visitor for you.

Hello. Show me.

Genuine rubies.

How did you get it?

-From my family.

He was used by Hadj El Anka.

Do you know that?

I'll give you 800.


-Why isn't that enough?



I'm singing here tomorrow night.

Come along if you want.

Look it's beautiful.

Have you anything else similar?

-Hang on it.

This confidant ...

whispering secrets to you ...

gives you hope ...

to reach the shrine.

Until his last breath ...

you must believe what he says:

He asks no alms ...

only goodness.

May God bless your parents ...

and give you long life.

Now we come to the garden

in true Andalusian style.

This room serves as a prayer hall

as the large room fills-up ...

on holidays. Now we'll go

to the beautiful Andalusian garden.

ln Marseille one looks strangely on ...

collaborating with the French.

What else can I do?

Give the mosque to the Germans?

It was full because of the party.

A German officer was with the Director.

They were friendly,

listened to music.

Is that all?

Then the director left

with the imam ...

but he seemed ill at ease.

What happened?

-I've no idea.

He went off alone at night.


Where to?

No idea, he went in his car.


I want to know more.

The mosque provides false papers.

I want to know to whom.

Have you seen any of these men?

You know him?

No, but ...

I've seen him in a nightclub.

A friend of Salim.

But never in the mosque.

Who is Salim?

A singer. He has a beautiful voice.

Are you kidding me?

His name is Salim Halali.

An Algerian from the mosque.

He sings at The Andalussia.

That's all I know.

Find out about him.

I want to know what he meets

with the communists.

This is for you.

If you bring me information

there will be more.

Omar ...

Younes, what are you doing here?

-I need merchandise.

You can't come here.

Come back tonight.

-I can't come then.

I finish in about an hour.

Wait outside.

About an hour.

The days ...

Every day an accident

Days filled with pain and sorrow

I love a girl from Andalusia

Young and beautiful as the sun

My God, what is that beautiful girl

Her eyebrows are magical

Fascinating shape

They bring to mind a man's head

I love a girl from Andalusia

Young and beautiful as the sun

Her black eyes make me mad

Like her wild hair

I don't know how to approach her

Praise God for such beauty

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Ismaël Ferroukhi

Ismaël Ferroukhi (born 1962) is a French-Moroccan film director. Ferroukhi was born in Kenitra. He gained exposure with his 1992 short film L'Exposé, which won the Kodak Prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. Following, Ferroukhi co-wrote the Cédric Kahn film Trop de Bonheur (1994). His directorial debut Le Grand Voyage, produced by Humbert Balsan and Ognon Pictures, won the Lion of the Future "Luigi De Laurentiis" Award for a First Feature Film at the 61st Venice Film Festival in 2004. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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