Days of Glory (Indigènes): 3 & ½ Stars (out of 5)
In terms of a war movies, it may not appeal to some who are used to the newer big budget flicks such as Clint Eastwood‘s Flags of Our Fathers (read that review) and Letters to Iwo Jima (read Aaron’s review) and Steven Spielberg‘s Saving Private Ryan.
This Algerian film, presented in French and Arabic with English subtitles, didn’t have the budget or CGI of such films. But, in terms of presenting a slice of history, and delving into the emotion of the events of that time, the film succeeds far more than most American films.
Writer/director Rachid Bouchareb chose to cast a group of actors all from North African decent (Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila) for the main roles. The choice for accuracy and realism is an important one.
As can be the the case with films which deal with discrimination, at times the message of the film seems a little too heavy handed, but the experiences and emotions of this group never falls into cliche. The acting is top notch and the ensemble won the Best Actor award at Cannes. It has also earned a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars.
The plot of the film unravels between battles as the group deal with each other, a beautiful girl (Melanie Laurent) from Porovance, their French commander (Bernard Blancan), and the increasingly harsh circumstances they find themselves. It is more a film of how one deals with the stress and discrimination during a war than the war itself. I’d compare it favorably to 1989’s Glory. It’s not a must-see, but if you do get a chance to see it I would recommend you take a chance and give it a look; I think you will be glad you did.