Une Histoire de Fou (Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad)Cannes Film Festival 2015
Set in the 1980s, Une Histoire de Fou (Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad) examines the fallout of the Armenian genocide and its continued influence on subsequent generations. Although loosely based on real events, the story is embellished and fictionalised by Robert Guédiguian, who here offers up a cautionary tale about the banality of violence while calling into question the methods of Armenian freedom fighters.
A sense of patriotism for his Armenian roots leads Aram (Syrus Shahidi), a young man from Marseilles, to conspire in the assassination of a Turkish ambassador. The explosion leaves a passing cyclist, Gilles (Grégorie Leprince-Ringuet), severely injured. Aram flees from France and joins the Liberation Army in Beirut to continue fighting for “the cause”, but soon finds his own ideals to be at odds with those of his comrades.
Meanwhile, Aram’s mother (Ariane Ascaride) seeks out Gilles and to him confesses her son’s involvement in the attack. Fighting to overcome his bitterness, this encounter eventually forms a bond between Gilles and Aram’s family; a circumstance that demonstrates an incredible, if not slightly implausible, generosity of spirit on the victim’s part.
The black-and-white prologue to the story does an admirable job of involving the viewer in the historical background on which the rest of the story relies. This ensures a tolerance for Aram’s passionate, radical views without compromising his ability to inspire viewer compassion.
Alternating between Aram’s storyline and those he left behind, the film builds a crucial but fairly anticlimactic meeting between two main characters. Nonetheless, the evidently noble intentions of the film, along with earnest and consistent performances, make for a heartfelt, impactful tale.
Une Histoire de Fou (Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad) does not yet have a UK release date.
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