A French rapper sued by the state for branding the police murderers will show a short film in competition at the Cannes Film Festival next month, organisers said on Tuesday.
Mohamed Bourokba, who performs as Hame with rap outfit La Rumeur (The Rumour), was selected for Ce Chemin Devant Moi (The Road Ahead of Me), one of 10 short films in competition at the May 16-27 event on the French Riviera.
He will be up against directors from nine countries including for the first time Syria, with Waiting for P.O Box by Bassam Chekhes, and Puerto Rico with Mi Santa Mirada by Alvaro-Aponte-Centeno. The son of Algerian immigrants, who hold a degree in film and media sociology, Bourokba spent close to a decade embroiled in a legal saga that began when President Nicolas Sarkozy was interior minister.
Sarkozy's ministry took action after he published a magazine in 2002 that spoke of "the hundreds of our brothers killed by the police forces". Charged with libelling police in France's immigrant suburbs, where Sarkozy's tough line was a major source of tension, the rapper was cleared by France's high court of appeal in 2010.
Hame had said he was speaking "in the name of the collective memory of the victims of police violence," including a 1961 crackdown on an Algerian rally in Paris that left at least 40 and up to 200 dead according to some historians.
The Cannes short film jury is chaired by the two-time Palme d'Or-winning Belgian director Jean-Pierre Dardenne, who will also reward the best of the Cinefondation selection highlighting 15 student films from around the world.
Cannes organisers will announce the 20-odd films in the official competition at a press conference in Paris on Thursday, with just under a month to go before the world's top movie showcase.