Movie: Days of Glory (2006)

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(French: Indigènes); Country: Algeria; Languages: French and Arabic)

This film is by a French-Algerian director. WWII forms the backdrop. French colonial government in Algeria and Tunisia enlists locals into the army and takes them to mainland Europe to fight. Those native soldiers are indoctrinated into believing that they are fighting for their “French motherland” but most of them are poor folks who enlisted in the army for money.

While fighting in French trenches, in order to survive, they forget their personal lives back home and the reason they joined the army (money) and must think of themselves as “sons of the glorious France” so that they remain steadfast in the battle and therefore win it. These contradictory feelings are so craftily embedded in the narrative of the film, which makes it without doubt one of the finest war dramas I’ve seen, like the Bosnian movie (No Man’s Land).

The film also depicts 3rd grade treatment those Algerian and Tunisian soldiers received from high ranking officials. Those footsoldiers were sent to the most dangerous combat operations to maintain the frontline, they bore the brunt of death and injury before others, but when it came to promotions or even leave, white homeboys were preferred over Franco-African soldiers and officers (mixed breed), and those of mixed breed were preferred over the natives.

It’s actually based on a true story. Those soldiers who fought for the “French motherland” were deprived of their military pensions after Algeria achieved independence. Apparently, this film led to change in French law in regards to WWII soldiers from the colonies fighting under French command.

The unmistakable humanity of the film and its depictions of fear and vulnerability of apparently battle-hardened soldiers must get it a straight 5/5. IMDb Link

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