Official | Update : 13.02.18 . 10:44 AM

Un Certain Regard: "Terror's Advocate," by Barbet Schroeder


Barbet © AFP

Barbet Schroeder returns to Cannes this year to present his new feature-length documentary Terror's Advocate in the section Un Certain Regard. This is the director's seventh journey to the Festival: works that were previously selected include More (1969) and Amin Dada (1974) in the parallel section; Koko, a Talking Gorilla (1978) in Un Certain Regard; Barfly (1987) in competition, and, out of competition, Kiss of Death (1995) and Murder by Numbers (2002). Terror's Advocate is the portrait of celebrity French attorney Jacques Vergès, a mysterious, somewhat diabolical figure who defies classification. Vergès is famous for defending extremely controversial clients, said to be impossible to acquit (terrorists Carlos and Anis Naccache, Nazi Klaus Barbie, etc.). "Vergès is definitely a character from a novel,” explained Barbet Schroeder. “When you’re dealing with the life of such a character, it’s always incredible. Avalanches of questions arise, certainly more than those surrounding his disappearance” [editor's note: at one point, Vergès disappeared for eight years]. Are you dealing with a great figure of historic importance or an infamous conman? An innocent man wrongly presumed guilty, or a guilty man presumed innocent?"

Regarding his artistic and narrative intentions, Schroeder said, "I didn’t want a direct connection between what is said and what is shown. I wanted ricochets, short cuts, reflections, interior echoes. Thus when I talk about a love story, I’m in fact talking about terrorism, and when I speak of terrorism, it’s from the perspective of a love story. It’s these ricochets, these echoes that thrill me, because that’s how the cinema I love works. You don’t embark on some journalistic discourse in order to prove a proposition; you adopt a ‘fictional,' poetic approach. (…) I don’t take a position! My whole idea is to allow the characters to speak. I want to allow things to unfold, to follow the thread which allows me to trace the history of contemporary terrorism through the destinies of many interlinked characters whose paths cross again and again.”

Photo Copyright AFP

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