screenwriter Jean-Charles Chapuzet travels through the 20th century by following the life of lawyer Jacques Vergès

Jean-Charles Chapuzet met lawyer Jacques Vergès in February 2013 for an interview, a few months before his death in August. The interview took place in his office, rue de Ventimiglia. It was just a matter of publishing an article about him on the occasion of the release of his latest book, “De monown avowal”. The idea for the book came to him five years later, he talked about it to his publisher. “There were never any comics about him. He has a graphic face and, with his life, we cross the XXe century”, explains Jean-Charles Chapuzet.

” Devil’s advocate “

“Not a single sentence is invented,” continues the screenwriter. His interview with Jacques Vergès is the basis of the screenplay, but there is also the reading of many books, on him or by him, the consultation of archives, documentaries, including “The Lawyer of Terror”, by Barbet Schroeder, the testimonies of Françoise Bloch-Capéran, his assistant for more than twenty years. Vergès was nicknamed “devil’s advocate” or “death advocate”. He defended the criminal Klaus Barbie, the terrorist Carlos, the dictator Slobodan Milošević… but also Omar Raddad, the Moroccan gardener, accused of the murder of his boss. “It’s not just Barbie in his life. Classifying it on the far right is ridiculous. Anti-colonialism is the engine of his life. He is also anti-American,” admits the screenwriter. Hence the epistemological caesuras that intervene in the narrative.

From Mao to Mandela

Jacques Vergès was born in Thailand to a Reunionese father and a Vietnamese mother. A diplomat, his father later became a doctor. Communist, he did not charge his patients. His twin brother, Paul, was a communist senator in Reunion. He was very early introduced to anti-colonialism, he was also marked by the fact of being mixed race, and learned to defend himself… His childhood is in sepia in this black and white work. A process chosen by Guillaume Martinez, for the flashbacks.

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