The Nazi occupation of France brings together Arabs and Jews against a common enemy in this drama from director Ismael Ferroukhi
, inspired by actual incidents. Younes (Tahar Rahim
) came to France from Algeria in search of a better life, but after landing a good job in a factory, the political turmoil that swept through Europe with the rise of the Third Reich left him with few options beyond hustling on the black market. His cousin Ali (Farid Larbi
) is a labor activist who, after the rise of the Vichy government, began working with the anti-Nazi French resistance. When Younes is captured by the police while selling unlicensed goods, he's given a choice -- he can go to jail or act as a spy, keeping the authorities posted on the activities at a local mosque, which is a hub for resistance fighters. As well as organizing anti-Nazi espionage, the resistance agents at the mosque are believed to be hiding Jewish families and passing them off as Muslims. Younes proves to be not much of a spy as his loyalties are with Ali and his comrades, and he becomes involved with Leila (Lubna Azabal
), who, in addition to her work at the mosque, is a vocal advocate of Algerian independence. Younes and Ali also are drawn into the orbit of Salim (Mahmud Shalaby), a seemingly apolitical Algerian vocalist who is hiding a surprising secret. Les Hommes Libres
(aka Free Men
) received its North American premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.