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TERROR'S ADVOCATE

Director : BARBET SCHROEDER

Status: Completed

Synopsis
Short synopsis

A provocative portrait of Jacques Verg¨s, controversial French lawyer, war veteran and revolutionary. For more than half-a-century, he has consorted with and defended some of the most infamous figures of the post-WW2 era, including Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Carlos the Jackal, Klaus Barbie and other despots, mass-murderers and terrorists. Who is Jacques Verg¨s? Moral conscience or dark shadow? A manipulative, self-promoting, amoral exploiter of human misery, or a brave, indefatigable defender of human dignity?

Long synopsis

A provocative, unsettling feature-length documentary film by Barbet Schroeder about Jacques Verg¨s, the highly controversial French lawyer, war veteran, revolutionary, agitator and intellectual popularly known as ‘The Devil’sAdvocate’ and reviled as such by his critics for his persistent defence of those many perceive as the indefensible.

Any honest, balanced film about Verg¨s is bound to be as controversial and provocative as the man himself. This film, directed by Barbet Schroeder, no stranger to disturbing subject matter, will be impartial and straight forward, in the stark tradition of the director whose films like MORE, IDI AMIN DADA and BARFLY have taken audiences into dark places many of them would prefer to have avoided.

All his charm and urbanity notwithstanding, Verg¨s represents a doorway to some very dark places indeed. For more than half-a-century, he has consorted with some of the most infamous figures of the post-WW2 era, including Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Carlos the Jackal, Klaus Barbie and other despots, tyrants, mass-murderers, torturers and terrorists of one political hue or another. Some were his clients, others his friends.

As a criminal lawyer, Verg¨s is quite forthcoming about his general motivations. “Evil fascinates me,”he has said. “The more a man is accused the more interested I am.”Verg¨s contends that crime is what separates men from beasts. He professes great empathy for the world’s”accused.

Who is Jacques Verg¨s? Moral conscience or dark shadow? A manipulative, self-promoting, unscrupulous, amoral exploiter of misery as his critics claim, or a sensitive, empathetic defender of human dignity, even when the right to that dignity is claimed by individuals who have denied it to their victims?