The Franco-Algerian director breaks his silence over the controversy surronding his Cannes competition title.

Rachid Bouchareb, whose competition title Hors La Loi has stirred controversy in France for its depiction of events in and around the Algerian War, has broken his silence over the upset in a statement provided to the festival.

The text of the statement follows:

“Over the last three weeks, there has been acrimonious debate concerning the screening of my film Hors La Loi, although the people taking part in this debate have not seen the film… Faced with such passion, and so as to restore some degree of calm in this over-heated context, it seems to me important to stress two points.

Hors La Loi is a work of fiction, a saga that tells the story of three Algerian brothers and their mother over a period of more than thirty years, from the middle of the nineteen-thirties to the independence of Algeria in 1962.

The cinema must be in a position to tackle all types of subject. I have done this as a film-maker, with my own sensibilities, without forcing anyone to share them.  After the screenings will come the time for public debate. Deeply attached as I am to freedom of expression, it seems normal to me that certain people might not agree with my film, but I would hope that such disagreement could be expressed in a calm atmosphere as part of a serene exchange of ideas.

France is seen by the whole world as a land of liberty, and I am particularly proud to be able to show my film here, in the most prestigious of all festivals. I hope that the screening will take place in a spirit of mutual respect and a calm climate.”