January 7, 2015 5:35 PM EST

In 2008, the Cannes Film Festival presented the documentary called C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons or It’s Hard Being Loved by Jerks, a documentary named for a controversial cartoon published in the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The film followed the lawsuit Islamist groups brought against the satirical newspaper after it published Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

In the wake of Wednesday’s terror attack in which gunmen stormed the newspaper’s offices and killed at least 12 people, here’s TIME’s review of the film from 2008, written by Mary Corliss, and a clip of editor and cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, discussing the fallout of publishing the cartoons. Charbonnier was killed in Wednesday’s attack.

It’s Hard Being Loved By Jerks

That’s the caption for a cartoon of an exasperated Mohammed that ran on the cover of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly. It was the winner of a contest the magazine held in support of the Danish magazine that was threatened by Islamic fundamentalists after publishing an illustration of the Prophet with a bomb in his turban. Inside that issue of Charlie Hebdo were 12 other cartoons, including one in which four terrorist whose bodies are still smoking from a bomb blast are arriving in heaven, and Mohammed says “Wait, we’ve run out of virgins.”

Muslims in France were no more amused than the ones in Denmark. (They consider any depiction of Mohammed to be blasphemy.) So three Islamic groups brought suit against Charlie Hebdo. Leconte’s film follows the trial through recollections of witnesses and the legal teams as well as documenting the religious and political debates in the halls outside the courtroom. He focuses on the chronological suspense of the trial, and has the benefit of defense attorneys whose brilliance is as sharp as the magazine’s. When the plaintiffs’ lawyer argues that Islam is caricatured more unfairly than other religions, one attorney itemizes a long list of affronts toward Catholicism, including a description of the Pope as … well, it sounds like “Shiite.”

It’s a serious issue, gods know, but Leconte keeps the film racing along like a Preston Sturges comedy. Aside from being a tribute to the liberality of the French judicial system (at least on free-speech matters), It’s Hard Being Loved by Jerks is the briskest, most hilarious and, in its subversive way, most inspiring film so far at Cannes.

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