The Blast of Shame

The Blast of Shame

Director: Djamel Ouahab

Year: 2009

Plot: A documentary about the controversial and secret French nuclear testings in Algeria.
Original Title: Gerboise bleue
Director: Djamel Ouahab
Writer: Djamel Ouahab
Type: movie
Year: 2009
Genres: Documentary
Runtimes: 90
Countries: France
Languages: French , Arabic
Color Info: Color
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Sound Mix: Dolby SR
Original Air Date: 11 Feb 2009 (France)
Rating: 7.4
Votes: 6
Year: 2009
Akas: The Blast of Shame (World-wide, English title)
Production Companies: Kalame Films , Bladi Films , Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC) , TPS Star , Agence Nationale pour la Cohésion Sociale et l'Egalité des Chances (ACSE) , Fonds Images de la Diversité , Maison de l'Image Basse-Normandie
Distributors: Shellac Distribution
Synopsis: Under the military code name evoked by the title of this film, hides the first French nuclear test carried out in the Algerian Sahara. It takes place on February 13, 1960, in Reggane. The shot is aerial, its power is four times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. Three more shots - titled "White Jerboa", "Red" and "Green" - will soon follow.Thereafter, including after the independence of Algeria, in 1962, and according to a secret clause of the Evian agreements, thirteen other tests will take place until 1967. They are this time underground, among which the shooting " Beryl" which failed and on May 1, 1962 released a radioactive cloud contaminating all the soldiers present at the In-Eker site, about a hundred kilometers south of Reggane.These facts - they have given rise to investigations that have remained unknown - the director Djamel Ouahab reminds us of less to probe an episode of colonialism to which they bear witness than to evoke a scandal that is perpetuated.This scandal is twofold. The first is that this test area, not as uninhabited as one would like to believe, was not decontaminated by the French army when it left and that the Algerian government obviously did not take this task to heart either. .EXPOSURE TO RADIATIONThe second is that there are today, to all appearances, victims of this exposure to radiation, who are found both among the Tuareg population and among the conscripts of the French contingent who were stationed without any protection on these sites. The film is essentially based on the testimony of two former soldiers, Lucien Parfait and Gaston Morizot. The first, present during the "Beryl" firing, is today enucleated and half disfigured, and continues to undergo surgical operations.The second, with an irradiated lung and premature aging of the spinal cord, lives continuously on morphine and antidepressants. To the words of these physically broken men, and morally humiliated for never having obtained compensation from the French government, is opposed that of Jean-François Bureau, spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense in 2007, who reports the difficulty of to scientifically correlate radiation exposure and the onset of disease.This question of proof turns out to be central, not only on the legal level, but also for the film, depending on whether it is deemed decisive or not. In the first case, it will be possible to judge the film too compassionate, not sufficiently argued, not resorting enough to the arbitration of experts. In the second, for lack of being able to elicit this proof, it is advisable to rely on the word, even if fallible, of the witnesses. In the latter case, Gerboise bleue - like the documentary by Agnès Fouilleux devoted to French politics in the Comoros released on February 4 (A single ticket for Maoré) - constitutes a new stone in the French political garden.
Cinematographer: Djamel Ouahab
Production Manager: Sadek Djermoune
Composer: Hugues Tabar-Nouval
Editor: Djamel Ouahab
Editorial Department: Guillaume Lips
Sound Crew: Frédéric Théry , Marc Nouyrigat
Music Department: Hugues Tabar-Nouval
Assistant Director: Marie Emery