In October 1965, Moroccan dissident Mehdi Ben Barka (Simon Abkarian) was abducted off the Parisian streets, never to be seen again. It’s one of Gaullist France’s greatest political scandals and here, mixing fact with speculation, writer/director Serge Le Péron has crafted a murky thriller; claustrophobic, compelling and brimming with questions.
The story centres around Georges Figon (Charles Berling). Approached to produce a film about decolonisation, Figon hires Barka as ‘historical adviser’, without knowing the whole thing is a scam to lure the Moroccan to the French capital to be kidnapped.
An evocative jazz score gives I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed its kick, while Berling impresses as the lead, a volatile fabulist way out of his depth and being taken for a ride.
The volatile debut of a fledgling filmmaker with talent and intent but, as yet, a severe lack of judgement, complexity or restraint.