Days of Glory (Indignes) (2006) (France)

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Days of Glory (Indignes) (2006) (France)

Postby hengcs » Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:23 am

Director: Rachid Bouchareb
Cast: Bernard Blancan, Sami Bouajila, Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem

The entire male cast garnered the Best Actor award in Cannes Film Festival 2006 .

The film tells of a little known event, that in World War II, a group of "non native" soldiers (from Algeria, Morocco, etc) were recruited to help liberate France and Italy ... Why do they fight so patriotically? How were they treated? etc ...

My thoughts:

-- Three things struck most about the film ...

(i) first, the message ... after the recent events in the world, race/religion/ethnicity becomes a controversial issue ... the film reiterates the importance of equality and peace to the audience ... as the film transports you back to history and highlights why the "non native" French are willing to die for France and Italy ... regarding the former as their motherland ... is it for a personal cause? or a more nobel cause? ... yet at those period, there is still some discrimination ... can it be overcome? ...

i thought the irony of identity and relationship is well crafted into some of the characters
e.g., the sergeant (when he is actually an Arabic, but not known to many) ... and also, the relationship between him and the newbie ... the latter knows the former cares for him, and yet later in the show, the latter wishes he die, and yet at the end, he risks all to save the former ... how will it all end ...
e.g., the corporal ... is all that he believes in true/correct? ... is all that he does worthy? ...

If you were to ponder, the film does have a number of food for thoughts ...

(ii) second, why did this ensemble impress the Cannes jury? ... well, they have succeeded by making us wonder whether they are simply portraying themselves or are they acting?! ... of course, I thought this is in part due to the fact that not many of us know these actors beforehand (so, pardon us) ... nonetheless, they still did a great job ... of portraying characters that are not "flat" and very believable ... many times, you wonder if they are what they act in real life ...

(iii) seldom mentioned, i want to highlight the arabic songs that were featured in the film, they often sounded at the right time to stir the audience emotionally ... unfortunately, these are not subtitled ...

Recommended. Frankly, I enjoyed the film ... ... It has nice characterization, melodramatic moments, and important messages for all ... i.e., about race, equality and peace ... of course, there may be some audience who consider the message kind of stark at times ...

PS: It was full house the day I watched, and it was sad that several customers who were eager to watch the film were turned away at the box office ... * pity them * ... but luckily, it will be on commercial screening soon ...

Re: Days of Glory (Indignes) (2006) (France)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:09 pm

My apologies for one of many delayed (and forgotten) postings.

Days of Glory - Indignes (2006)

Directed by Rachid Bouchareb

Starring Jamel Debbouze (Boys on the Beach, Angel-A), Roschdy Zem (Alias Betty)

As a straight out war film Days of Glory comes a cropper, it has taken far too much influence from Saving Private Ryan and/or Band of Brothers, though some of its better aspects appear to have been influenced by Kubrick's similarly titled but far superior Paths of Glory.

Where it does work (albeit with the subtlety of a steam hammer) is as a political statement, illustrating how the North African troops were used as cannon fodder, how they were treated as lesser beings and how they were then discarded and left to rot once they had completed their duty for their so called 'mother land'.

Out of interest, Britain was just as guilty as France for doing this, especially with Indian and Burmese troops during WWII.

The actual history behind the story is far more interesting than the film but unfortunately, people need over emphasised dramatics rather than documented facts to grab their attention.

Realistically there were some terrible faults with the film, not least the German soldier firing the ofenrohr 'stovepipe' (bazooka style antitank weapon) at the wall of a house while within it, this 88mm projectile would have taken down the wall plus the rest of the house killing everyone including the Germans, and that's without mentioning the blowback from the charge.

I also found it hard to believe Jamel Debbouze's character, for one he's a light comedy actor, depth of emotion is certainly not his forte. Another far more obvious point is his right arm which he seriously injured as a youngster and appears to be pretty useless, you can get away with this in some films (Amelie or Angel-a for example) but in a war film, as a soldier constantly walking around with your hand tucked in your pocket even when carrying a rifle in the middle of a firefight! No, sorry he was definitely wrong for the role and was the major weak link in this film.

I know he acted as co-producer but he should have taken a back seat or a minor part in this project rather than grabbing the central role.

You can't fault the good that the film has done for the surviving pensioners but I couldn't help thinking it should have been so much better.

As a war film C-.
As a political statement B+.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 12a.

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