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Je suis Charlie

JE SUIS CHARLIE details the debates that preceded the attack on the headquarters of the French magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in January 2015 and pays tribute to the cartoonists and collaborators who were murdered.


In 2006 the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published the controversial Mohammed caricatures that a Danish newspaper drew and as an act of solidarity which incited violent protests from extremist Muslims. The edition’s cover showed a picture of a crying prophet and the caption “C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons“ (Translation: it’s hard to be loved by idiots). An umbrella organization of French Muslims sued the newspaper for defamation. Filmmakers Daniel and Emmanuel Leconte, a father-son team, shot a film about the magazine editors and the trial as an example of the debate between freedom of opinion and the protection of religious feelings at the time and sided with the magazine’s attitude.
Their current film JE SUIS CHARLIE (L’HUMEUR À MORT) is a reaction to the events on the 7th and 8th of January 2015, in which Islamist terrorists attacked the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, thereby killing 16 people. Their film is openly personal, very emotional and deeply moving. It’s less a documentary and more of a political manifesto, a homage, and an exhortation. The directors keep evoking the memories of the feeling of community and shock that millions of French people were feeling which compelled them to go on the streets on the 11th of January in order to commemorate the dead and defend the freedom of opinion.
JE SUIS CHARLIE shows the background of the attacks – the debate about the Mohammed caricatures and the position that Charlie Hebdo took and gives a detailed account of those fateful January days. Survivors, like cartoonist Coco, who opened the door to the terrorists, and Eric Portheault, one of the managers, who crouched down to the floor, talk about what they experienced during the attack and the period afterwards. The wave of solidarity, the first dissenting voices that made themselves heard a few days after the ordeal, as well as the making of the 8 page January edition, which was compiled by the survivors with an unbelievable, possibly cathartic effort.
There are many upsetting, illuminating, and moving moments in JE SUIS CHARLIE. The most striking moment for me was the image of the surviving editorial team at work. They mirror the footage that Lecontes took 8 years prior when they made their first film and gives an impression of the Charlie Hebdo microcosm. The cartoonists and copywriters, some of which have known each other for decades, sit together in a room and debate, draw, and write. Drafts are pinned on a wall side by side, the best are chosen and then it is sequenced. The joy of working together, the humor and the debates are what symbolize the magazine: even in the sad mirror image, with many of the most important protagonists missing.
JE SUIS CHARLIE also takes the time to remember the individual cartoonists and coworkers, Charb, Cabu, Tignous, Wolinski, and the others, who are now missing from the circle. It’s a very personal loss for the Lecontes – that is very clear.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: L'humeur à mort
Frankreich 2015, 90 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Daniel Leconte, Emmanuel Leconte
Author: Daniel Leconte, Emmanuel Leconte
DOP: Damien Girault
Montage: Grégoire Chevalier-Naud
Distributor: Temperclay Filmverleih
Release: 07.01.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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