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The subject of Barbet Schroeder’s unsettling film is a cinema staple — the smug, limelight-seeking “star” lawyer. What makes Terror’s Advocate so chilling is that its “star” — French lawyer Jacques Vergès — is a real-life attorney notorious for his infamous clients.
Vergès came to prominence during the 1960s Algerian war when he defended — and later married — cafe bomber Djamila Bouhired. He went on to defend terrorists of every type, including Carlos the Jackel, but is best known for acting for Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie.
Schroeder’s vividly lays out the evidence in the form of powerful news footage and interviews without didactisism, allowing audiences to make up their own minds about Vergès.