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The Olive Trees of Justice

Directed by James Blue

Release: 1962
Runtime: 81
Country: France
Language: French with English subtitles
The first and only narrative feature by American documentarian James Blue (Oscar®-nominated for A Few Notes On Our Food Problem), The Olive Trees Of Justice holds the dual distinctions of being the only French film to have been shot in Algeria during the Algerian War, and to have been the winner of the Prize of the Society of Film and Television Writers  at the inaugural Critics' Week at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962. 
Filmed in Algiers and the surrounding countryside during the late stages of the Algerian War, under the pretext that it was a documentary about the wine industry, the film depicts the Algerian struggle for independence from the French by concentrating on a young “pied-noir” (Frenchman of Algerian descent) who returns to Algiers to visit his dying father. His memories of boyhood on his father's farm are told in flashbacks with a lush serenity that contrasts to the teeming, tank-filled streets of contemporary Algiers. 
Giving the film a neorealist tone by shooting in a documentary style and enrolling a cast that consisted largely of non-professional actors, including author Jean Pelegri who wrote the autobiographical novel from which the film is based, Blue tells a powerful story of common people living and struggling in their daily lives, while providing a valuable testimony to the complexity of the Algerian situation in that time period.
Restored in 4K in 2020 by L’Atelier d’Images and Thierry Derocles in collaboration with The James and Richard Blue Foundation with the support of The Film Foundation, The National Film Preservation Foundation, James Ivory and CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, at L’Image Retrouvée (Paris) from a fine grain print preserved at Les Archives Françaises du Film.

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Technical Info

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Color: Black & White & Color


Venue City Date
Amherst Cinema Amherst 1644555600February 11 - March 11, 2022
Bozeman Film Society Bozeman 1645160400February 18 - February 25, 2022
Chelsea Theater Chapel Hill 1644555600February 11 - March 11, 2022
Cleveland Cinematheque Cleveland 1649995200April 15 - May 30, 2022
Cornell Cinema Ithaca 1643691600February 1 - February 3, 2022
Harvard Film Archive Cambridge 1651809600May 6 - May 12, 2022
Lightbox Film Center Philadelphia 1645160400February 18, 2022
Metrograph New York 1642741200January 21 - January 28, 2022
MoMA New York 1653105600May 21 - May 26, 2022
Onyx Theatre Nevada City 1648180800March 25 - April 22, 2022
Rice Cinema Houston 1646370000March 4 - February 6, 2022
SIFF Film Center Seattle 1652414400May 13 - May 16, 2022
Wexner Center for the Arts Columbus 1645938000February 27 - February 28, 2022