Monday, 17 March 2014

Film Screening in Wellington - Rebellion (L’ordre et la Morale). France 2011

Rebellion, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz is a dramatisation of the events on the New Caledonian island of Ouvea in 1988 when pro-independence Kanak activists took a group of French gendarmes hostage.

Friday March 21st
The People's Cinema, Manners Street
(over the road from McDonald's), Wellington.

 This was a crucial event in the long Kanak struggle for independence from France. Rebellions in 1871 and 1917 were followed by increasing pro-independence activism from the late 1960s. In 1981 a Kanak trade union, the USTKE was formed, followed in 1984 by the FLNKS, a pro-independence federation. During the late '80s pro and anti-independence activity led to protests and armed clashes. Much grassroots organising took place amongst the indigenous Kanaks including the establishment of the grassroots school network, the Ecole Populaire Kanak.

The lack of reaction by the FLNKS leadership to the Ouvea hostage situation created a perception of the distancing of the leadership - the 'grande tetes' - from the grassroots, a feeling increased by the agreement of the leadership to the Matignon Agreement, which put off any decision on independence for ten years. Support for Kanak independence was a significant area of work for New Zealand activists in the '80s and early '90s. This film covers an important, and now mostly forgotten, piece of Pacific history.

The film is a dramatisation of the autobiographical account of the events by a commander of a French anti-terrorist unit sent to negotiate with the militants, only to discover the French state was intent on a military solution. The film shows how the state acts to turn political problems into military ones, where it is at its strongest. It is directed, produced, co-written, co-edited, and stars Mathieu Kassovitz (for good measure, he also led the crew's exercise routines), best remembered for his 1995 'anti-cop' film, La Haine.

Screening Friday March 21st at 6.30pm at The People's Cinema, Manners Street (over the road from McDonald's), Wellington.

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