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Exclusive Clip: Terror’s Advocate

You’ll never hear a first-grader claim he/she wants to be a lawyer when they grow up – but there are some determining factors in a youngsters’ life that may push him towards the trade. In this case, a young Jacques Vergès involuntarily found his reason for being very early on in life.

You'll never hear a first-grader claim he/she wants to be a lawyer when they grow up – but there are some determining factors in a youngsters' life that may push them towards the trade. In this case, a young Jacques Vergès, perhaps involuntarily found out early on in life his reason for being. This is a captivating, talking heads doc about a fascinating individual – agree to disagree or hate the man. What he does is almost noble. A suivre…. 

Today, Magnolia Pictures releases a documentary film that explores one man's mindset and life's work. Via the sophisticated hand of Barbet Schroeder, this Cannes-selected, Un Certain Regard, French production aims at giving viewers everything but an easy, open and shut portrait.

Today, brings you an exclusive clip (early contacts with Mao) from Terror's Advocate – to view it skip on over the film's synopsis below.

This is about Jacques Vergès, the highly controversial French lawyer, war veteran, revolutionary agitator and intellectual popularly known as 'The Devil’s Advocate' and reviled as such by his critics for his persistent defence of what many perceive as the indefensible. If a Hollywood scriptwriter had invented Jacques Vergès, he might be open to charges of over-romanticising his hero. Perhaps Vergès should be viewed as an anti-hero because he is a difficult man to like. Many abhor him. Any honest, balanced film about Maître Vergès is bound to be as controversial and provocative as the man himself. For all his charm and urbanity, Vergès 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, Vergès is quite forthcoming about his general motivations. “Evil fascinates me,” he has said, “the more a man is accused the more interested I am.” Vergès contends that crime, or criminality, is what separates men from beasts. He professes great empathy for the world’s “accused”. Who is Jacques Vergès? 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?

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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