THE OLIVE TREES OF JUSTICE
Director: James Blue
France / 1962 / 81 min
Introduced by Richard Blue and Richard Herskowitz
The lone fiction feature of acclaimed France-based, American-born documentarian James Blue, winner of the Critic’s Prize at Cannes in 1962, The Olive Trees of Justice follows a Frenchman of Algerian descent on a journey to visit his dying father back home, his memories of a bucolic boyhood on his family farm intermingling with the violent contemporary reality of the Algerian struggle for independence, circa 1962.
Shooting on location as tanks rolled through city streets, Blue elicits extraordinary naturalistic performances from a nonprofessional cast that includes Pierre Prothon as the son and Jean Pélégri—author of the novel on which the film is based—as his father. While casting an unblinking eye on the catastrophe of crumbling colonialism, Blue never loses focus on the emotional core of his film, giving us a rare sense of everyday life as it carries on amidst tectonic, world-historical events.