René Vautier

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René Vautier
René Vautier-Rue St Malo à Brest en 2005.JPG
René Vautier (2005)
Born (1928-01-15)15 January 1928
Camaret-sur-Mer, Finistère, France
Died 4 January 2015(2015-01-04) (aged 86)
Cancale, Ille-et-Vilaine, France
Nationality French
Occupation Film director
Known for Afrique 50

René Vautier (French: [votje]; 15 January 1928 – 4 January 2015) was a French film director. His films, which were often controversial with French authorities, addressed many issues, such as the Algerian War, French colonialism in Africa, pollution, racism, women's rights, and apartheid in South Africa.[1] Many were banned or condemned, and one caused him to go to prison for a year.

Early life[edit]

He was born on 15 January 1928 in Camaret-sur-Mer, Finistère, France, the son of a factory worker and a teacher.[2] He joined the French Resistance during World War II at the age of 15[3] and later received the Croix de guerre and the Order of the Nation from Charles de Gaulle for his militant activity.[2][4] He then joined the French Communist Party[5] and studied film-making at the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques, where he graduated in 1948.[6]


Afrique 50[edit]

Main article: Afrique 50

Vautier made his first film, Afrique 50, in 1950, when he was 21.[2][6] He was assigned to visit French West Africa and make an educational film,[6][7] but he was appalled by the conditions he witnessed, including lack of doctors and crimes committed by the French Army.[8] The resulting film was confiscated by police using legislation decreed by Pierre Laval, but Vautier managed to recover enough footage to publish the 17-minute film in 1950.[1] It was hailed as the first anti-colonial French film. He was indicted thirteen times for it and sentenced to a year in prison.[2][4] The documentary was banned for forty years.[5]

Later works[edit]

He worked with Louis Malle to make Humain, trop humain in 1973, a film about conditions in a Citroën car plant.[9] Vautier directed Peuple en marche, which gives the history of the National Liberation Army and the Algerian War, in 1963.[10] Another Algerian War film, Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès (1972), won the International Federation of Film Critics Award at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival.[11][12] He made over 180 films, many of them destroyed by the French government.[9] Several of Vautier's other films were presented at Cannes, including Mourir pour des images, Comment on devient un ennemi de l'intérieur, Les trois cousins, and Vacances tunisiennes.[13] In January 1973, he went on hunger strike to protest film censorship.[1] He received the Order of the Ermine in 2000. On 4 January 2015, he died at a hospital in Cancale, Brittany.[3][14]



  1. ^ a b c Le Garrec, Félix (31 March 2003). "René Vautier" (in German). Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Militant Image: Films by René Vautier". Inivia. 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Johnson, Ian P. (4 January 2015). "Anti-censorship film-maker Vautier dies". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Brenez, Nicole (2012). "René Vautier: devoirs, droits et passion des images" (in French). La Furiaumana. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Sotinel, Thomas (4 January 2015). "Mort de René Vautier, cinéaste combattant" [Death of René Vautier, fighting filmmaker]. Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Sayed, Yousef (29 March 2012). "René Vautier – Wide Angle". Little White Lies. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Entretien: René Vautier, cinéaste résistant (1/2)". Alternative Libertaire (in French). June 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Afrique 50". Afrika 30. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "René Vautier". International Film Festival Rotterdam. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Peuple en marche". Fondo Filmico. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès". Fondo Filmico. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Schwartz, Arnaud (11 October 2012). "René Vautier, cinéaste: " Le sens à donner aux images ne pouvait être que le combat "". La Croix. Venice. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Rene Vautier" (in French). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "René Vautier. "Il fait partie du patrimoine du cinéma français"". Ouest France (in French). 4 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 

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