For a week Marseille’s cinema-café on the Cours Julien, Videodrome 2, will show the films of René Vautier. The cinema, which is also a video club and bistro, offers a varied and regularly renewed programme. By scheduling seasons, the public discovers the relationships between different films, enhancing them and making them more accessible. Audiences have an active role in this space, as do the various partners who help schedule the programming.
From Tuesday January 28th to Sunday February 2nd several films by René Vautier will be shown.
Actor, screenwriter and director, René Vautier was above all politically committed. Born in January 1928, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre at only sixteen. He died in January 2015. In 1948 he graduated from the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques, first in his class. He was sent to French West Africa by the French League for Education to film the living conditions in the villages of the then French colonies. A trip which changed his way of seeing. From then on he strove to make “images and sound available to the people to whom such things are refused by the powers-that-be.” Whether in Algeria, Africa or Brittany, he took his camera everywhere, denouncing the injustices and absurdities of the systems in place.
Because of his temperament and the subjects he tackled, he felt the hand of censorship throughout his career. First for Afrique 50, made when he was twenty-one and banned for the next forty years, and which lead to him being given a one-year prison sentence. Then in 1954 Une Nation l’Algérie was banned from being broadcast, Vautier penalised for attacking French internal security. Or again Algérie en flammes which earned him twenty-five months in prison between 1958 and 1960.
In the end, however, his vision was vindicated. First in 1972, when he received the International Critics Prize at Cannes for Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès. An outstanding film in his broad cinematic corpus, Vautier dramatised a story about young French soldiers who had opposed the Algerian war, but who nevertheless had to fight under the orders of their lieutenant.
But his career could not be reduced to a single film, and in 1998 he won the Grand Prix of the Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia for a lifetime’s achievement.