Une histoire de fou


U.S. Premiere • Drama • France, 2015

DCP • 1.85 • Dolby 5.1 • Color/Black & white • 134 min

Directed by: Robert Guédiguian

Written by: Robert Guédiguian, Gilles Taurand,

Based on the autobiography by: José Antonio Gurriaran

Cinematography: Pierre Milon

Film Editing: Bernard Sasia

Original Score: Alexandre Desplat

Produced by: Agat Films & Cie / Ex Nihilo

Cast: Simon Abkarian (Hovannès Alexandrian), Ariane Ascaride (Anouch Alexandrian), Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet (Gilles Teissier), Syrus Shahidi (Aram Alexandrian), Robinson Stévenin (Soghomon Tehlirian) 

International Sales: MK2 •


Against a backdrop of militant attacks sweeping 1980s Europe, this absorbing tale dives headfirst into themes of collective guilt, historical amnesia, and radicalization. Aram, a young man of Armenian descent, grows up in Marseille hearing stories of Turkish brutality and genocide against his people. Although these are the sins of a past generation, Aram’s pitched rage leads him to lash out against a Turkish diplomat in Paris. Fleeing to Beirut to join the Armenian Liberation Army, Aram doesn’t know that his bomb also seriously wounded Gilles, an innocent cyclist who happened to be passing by. When Aram’s mother Anouch learns of her son’s involvement in the bombing, her conscience gets the better of her, and she decides to pay a visit to Gilles in the hospital. Anouch’s shame seems no match for Gilles’ anger and bitterness, yet the encounter inspires Gilles to dig deeper into Armenian history – by way of imposing himself directly on Aram’s family.

Based on the autobiographical novel by journalist Jose Antonio Gurriaran, who was himself paralyzed in an Armenian terrorist attack and later defended the Armenian cause, this cri de coeur from writer/director Robert Guédiguian is a return to themes that have preoccupied him personally and professionally. Born to an Armenian dockworker in Marseille, Guédiguian makes films that confront social and political issues but add a touch of thriller or noir to the kitchen sink naturalism. Relying on a stable of regular actors, his early features were expressions of pessimism for the future of the French working class. Later films like Marius and Jeannette (1997) took a lighter, more charming turn, and garnered international acclaim. His ambitious Army of Crime (2009) pays tribute to immigrant resistance fighters in wartime France. For one of that film’s co-writers, Gilles Taurand, this marks his third collaboration with Guédiguian, along with The Last Mitterrand (2005).  Don’t Tell me the Boy was Mad had its World Premiere at the last Cannes Film Festival.


“A meaty two-hour-plus drama, with Guédiguian sketching in the moral dilemmas with clarity and firmness.”

– Andrew Pulver, The Guardian

“Guédiguian constructs small stories around the main one with great sincerity and compassion, certainly making this one of his most successful movies.”

– Geoffrey Crété, CineMan