(Les hommes libres) Engrossing revisionist wartime espionage tale pits Arabs and Jews against the Nazi Occupation. Director Ismaël Ferroukhi’s “Free Men” tells a story of Muslim North Africans in a little-known slice of history. Algerian black marketeer Younes (Tahar Rahim, “A Prophet”) is the romantic hero; a charismatic, effective actor, given to ambiguity, Rahim keeps the viewer afloat in the criss-crossing currents of historical detail about that moment in time even as Ferroukhi’s film suggests another war to come: the French-Algerian conflict of decades on. Portents of dread are sustained with quiet assurance. With Lubna Azabal, Michael Lonsdale, Mahmoud Shalaby, Christopher Buchholz. 99m. (Ray Pride)
“Free Men” plays at Siskel August 19-21 and 23.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.