Charlegue (Jacques Denis) is a small-time publisher who ran a left-wing newspaper in Algeria and worked in support of that country's independence movement. When the country is taken over by right-wing French military types in the 1950s, he is forced to go underground. The country's rulers eventually capture him, imprison him, and subject him to brutal torture. Despite this, he maintains his morale and even manages to smuggle out a book about his experiences. When the book is published in France, it provokes cries of outrage against the regime in Algeria. This movie is based on Henri Alleg's best-selling autobiographical book.