During my training as an actor I worked on a play which focused on the McCarthy era and the hearings conducted by the House of Unamerican Activities Committee. Over and over, this ritual question was asked : "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party ?" In this society weakened by fear, anyone connected with this political party was suspected of sympathizing with the enemy and had to be confronted. The destinies of many men and women hung by a string tied to that symbolic question.
As I was working on this play, I realized it had a strong connection to the Algerian war that had left a mark in my family history.
My father was born in 1951 in Algeria, a land that was still part of France. He was then considered a "French muslim" or "native indigenous". Algeria had been colonized for over 100 years but the native muslims were never fully recognized as French citizens.
When he was 6, my father left Algeria with his parents and moved to Lyon, a city 300 miles south of Paris. After Algeria got its independence, they chose the Algerian citizenship but stayed in Lyon.
Ever since the French-Algerian war, many considered Algerians as some kind of enemies from within, just like the communists in the 50's USA.
In the 90's, when the civil war in Algeria drew terrorist attacks on the French territory, this image of "enemies from within" came back to life. At the time, my father was finally asking for French citizenship and went throught a blackmail at the police station. He was asked to prove his patriotic inclination by working with the police in spying on his neighboors and friends in search for radical islamists. He refused. He wasn't even religious.
As my father passed away in 2012, France encountered multiple terrorist attacks that culminated last year at the Bataclan and Nice. Now the fear of having enemies from within leading to a sort of civil war developped in the minds of many.
These are the reasons I wrote and directed Ennemis intérieurs (aka : Enemies within).
I had a sense that the French colonial history, the Algerian independence war and the situation we know today, all that was tied together somehow. I felt the need to question our complexe identity and remind ourselves of the kafkaesque situation French Algerians used to be.
On the side of my main job as a supervising sound editor in Paris, I wrote the script which finally completed its financing in 2014 when we were able to go into production.