The repercussions of the deadly assault on the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are still with us, as is the aftermath of the murderous attack on a French kosher supermarket. Discussions abound about anti-Semitism and anti-free speech inherent in the separate killings. “Je suis Charlie,” a documentary directed by Daniel Leconte and Emmanuel Leconte, was an important part of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

How much do we know about those artists who died at Charlie Hebdo and those who survived? The new film deals with both, and it contains riveting interviews that reveal the depth of the loss, personally and politically. We see the emotional scars of those who miss their colleagues and friends. The loss in creativity also comes through, as the brutal attack by extremists was a blatant attempt to suppress the freedom to publish cartoons to satirize a variety of targets.

“Je suis Charlie,” which takes its name from the outpouring of support, provides background clips related to murdered editor Charb and cartoonist Cabur. We get to know more about them, as well as about the survivors bent on carrying out the traditions of the publication.

Moving as well as informative, the film stands as a counter-force against those who would silence Charlie Hebdo and any other publication that might arouse anger as well as laughter. It also heartens with a report on the display of solidarity that arose in France after the terrorist crime, as well as provides new respect for the art of cartooning. This is a very pertinent documentary. Posted October 27, 2015.

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