Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Due to the fact that the French-Algerian War (beginning in 1954) brought down several governments and led to the creation of the Fifth Republic, a deeply divided France struggled over whether to retain Algeria as the southern outpost of France proper, and this conflict was never formally declared as a war. Feelings within France ran high over the conflict, as those who wished to retain the north African country in French hands viewed it not as a colony, but as part of France itself, and this lent ferocity to their actions; those who viewed it as a colony were puzzled by the whole affair and its divisive nature and were ashamed of their country's actions. Meanwhile, the Algerian freedom fighters themselves were deeply divided, with some merely wanting a "civilized" independence with good relations with France, and others wanting to punish their oppressors. Terrorism on both sides became commonplace, and the conflict is often considered to be France's "Vietnam." This documentary explores the conflict through the recollections of a some veterans living in Grenoble and uses their personal photographs with telling effect.