Rebellion (4 stars)


A deft portrayal of the French Pacific 1988 Ouvea conflict from actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz

In Rebellion (L'Ordre Et La Morale), Mathieu Kassovitz revisits events on the French Pacific territory of Ouvea in New Caledonia in 1988 when a small local uprising was met by the full force of the French army. Kassovitz's hard-hitting reconstruction emphasises the way the lives of the islanders and any hope of peaceful negotiation became collateral damage in the crossfire of a Presidential election where both Francois Mitterand and Jacques Chirac saw political capital in appearing to be tough and decisive.

After an incident in which four gendarmes were killed and other taken hostage, negotiation specialist Captain Philippe Legorjus (Kassovitz) is among those dispatched to Ouvea. Events are largely seen through his eyes as he attempts to negotiate between Alphonse (Iabe Lapacas), a rebel leader with legitimate grievances, and callous French rulers for whom a military assault was always more of a first instinct than a last option.

Kassovitz deftly negotiates the complexity of what happened but his sympathies clearly lie with the islanders in a politically-charged tale with an approach similar to the work of Costa-Gavras. The film makes unfamiliar events accessible and urgent and Rebellion may even hold a particular resonance for Scottish audiences as New Caledonia will finally hold an independence referendum in 2014.

Limited release from Fri 19 Apr.


Rebellion (L'ordre et la morale)

  • 2011
  • France
  • 2h 16min
  • Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz
  • Cast: Mathieu Kassovitz, Iabe Lapacas, Malik Zidi
  • UK release: 19 April 2013

La Haine director Kassovitz helms this gritty thriller about a police negotiator called into restore order in the tropical New Caledonia jungle.