2006 - France - 128 minutes
Writers - Rachid Bouchareb and Olivier Lorelle
Director - Rachid Bouchareb
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.3/10 - Link to IMDb
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

The English title of this film is very much a misnomer. There is no glory - just heartbreak - in this story of natives of North Africa who were recruited by the French army to help liberate France during the Second World War. It is a grim tale of men who sacrificed their all in support of a nation that had colonized their homeland. Their goal was to prove that they were true citizens of France, but they were treated as second-class citizens throughout the war and after.

The story follows the lives of four men from various backgrounds from an uneducated shepherd to an intellectual. They each volunteered to serve for different personal reasons, but were all torn asunder by the rampant prejudice of their races and religions.

Indigènes is certainly an interesting and well-produced film, but I think it suffers a bit because the audience is not given much insight into the backgrounds of the four main characters. As a foreigner, I would have liked to know more about from whence they came. One of the ironies of these men is that they were as much strangers to each other as they were to the French soldiers, because they came from such diverse areas and backgrounds. There is little of that sitting around talking about home that gives insight into the former lives of soldiers that you usually see in films of this type of film. Because of the tribe-like nature of their native land, these soldiers have nothing in common except their contemptible treatment by the French soldiers and officers.

What this film does offer is an insightful look at yet another injustice of history, and anything that brings to the fore an examination and evaluation of prejudice and its results is certainly worthwhile.

Neil Turner
August 13, 2007

English title: Days of Glory