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By Simone Bitton

fBB en 1965 (mort).jpg

A coproduction Les Films de la Passerelle, Article Z, La Sept ARTE, RTBF, Canal Horizons. In collaboration with TFO - TVOntario, la Télévision Suisse Romande. With the help of CNC, la PROCIREP, la SCAM, "Le Journal-Assahifa", le CCA. Distributed with the help of Programme MEDIA de l'Union Européenne. 


On October 29, 1965, Moroccan opposition leader Mehdi Ben Barka was kidnapped in the middle of Paris and disappeared forever.
The Ben Barka affair was one of the darkest and most publicized political-judicial scandals of this century in France. It also had a great international impact, because Ben Barka was considered the spokesperson and itinerant ambassador of the Third World movement. At the time of his disappearance, he was shuttling between Algiers, Cairo, Cuba, Beijing and Moscow to prepare for the first tricontinental conference: All the leaders of countries and movements claiming the ideology of liberation were to meet in Cuba, on his initiative and under his presidency.
Thirty-five years after this disappearance, and despite a recent partial lifting of French defense secrecy, we still do not know with certainty who killed Ben Barka. His body was never found and the investigation got bogged down in the tightly closed files of a large number of secret services and parallel police forces.
However, this film is not a new investigation into the disappearance of Ben Barka. We do not know what dozens of investigators, lawyers and journalists have never been able to fully elucidate. Our purpose is different: We want to paint a portrait of a man, his country and his time. It is the life of Ben Barka that interests us, much more than his death. Because by disappearing, Ben Barka was erased from history. The Ben Barka affair monopolized attention, Mehdi Ben Barka was forgotten. This film will therefore be a portrait of Ben Barka by those who knew him, through the archive and through the investigation into the places of his life. Such a portrait has never been undertaken to date.
We remember the name of Ben Barka and the incredible story of his kidnapping, but we have forgotten everything else: His exceptional political and intellectual stature, the hopes he embodied, his struggles, his successes and his errors. Above all, we forgot to talk about Morocco and Moroccans, for whom he wanted a better future.

Morocco has changed, we are told. The government is headed by a former companion of Ben Barka and the political prisoners are returning, one by one, to freedom. But the story of Ben Barka, the child from the medina of Rabat who lost his life for wanting to change the world too quickly, still remains to be told:
The story of a man whose assassins sought to erase his very image, and this film wants to rediscover this image...

Technical sheet
Year: 2001
Duration: 84'
Language: French 
Direction: Simone Bitton

Cinematography: Jacques Bouquin
Sound: Hilal Abdellilah, Karim Ronda, Joel Flescher, Michel Brethez
Editing: Catherine Poitevin
Christine Pireaux - Les Films de la Passerelle
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