Set in the Cévennes region of France in the 18th century, Les Camisards is about a band of Huguenot rebels who turn their anger at the repressive tactics of a Catholic state into active confrontation (burning churches, hanging informers, guerilla tactics against the army). When it first appeared at the London Film Festival in 1972, it was described as 'Brechtian, distanced, cool rather than emotional and romantic'. True, but it sometimes falls between the stools of an all-out costume drama and a political film about repression. It has fine moments though. The rebels roam about a lazy summer countryside, egged on by religious fanatic Abraham Mazel (Desarthe), occasionally meeting the incompetent state troopers in miniature pitched battles. As the red-jacketed soldiers fall to their knees to fire, the camisards respond by singing a song of solidarity: enough to make your heart beat a little faster.
Cast and crew
René Allio, Jean Jourdheuil