Algeria, 1943, through Italy and France, to Alsace in early 1945, with a coda years later. Arabs volunteer to fight Nazis to liberate France, their motherland. We follow Saïd, dirt poor, an orderly for a grizzled sergeant, Martinez, a pied noir with some willingness to speak up for his Arab troops; Messaoud, a crack shot, who in Province falls in love with a French woman who loves him back; and Abdelkader, a corporal, a budding intellectual with a keen sense of injustice. The men fight with courage against a backdrop of small and large indignities: French soldiers get better food, time for leave, and promotions. Is the promise of liberty, equality, and fraternity hollow? Written by
In World War II, the Muslims from French colonies enlist to fight for their motherland France. In the 7th battalion commanded by the tough Sergeant Roger Martinez (Bernard Blancan), the soldier Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila) has leadership with the troop and seeks promotion and recognition from the command; Said Otmari (Jamel Debbouze) is a servile and illiterate private, happy in serving his sergeant; Messaoud Souni (Roschdy Zem) is the sniper of the group and has fallen in a corresponded love with the French Irène (Aurélie Eltvedt); and Yassir (Samy Naceri) is fighting together with his brother to raise some money. Along the campaign in Italy, France and Alsace, they realize that French soldiers are promoted, have better food and have leaves to visit their families, while the Arab soldiers are shamefully discriminated and treated like 2nd ranking soldiers.
"Indigènes" is an excellent movie of war, disclosing an unusual theme: the discrimination of the soldiers from the French colonies in World War II. The anti-Semitism is presented in most of the films about WWII; racism and segregation with the American soldiers has been explored in a couple of movies; but the treatment spent to the Arab soldiers in World War II by France command is the first time that I see in a movie. The screenplay, the direction, the performances, the pace and the cinematography are great and gives a magnificent homage to these forgotten and discriminated heroes. The lack of payment of pension plan to the survivors and families by the French government is another example of the level of intolerance and lack of respect in the world of the present days. In the end, it is a great deception that the beautiful message "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" is not applicable to the soldiers from the exploited colonies. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Dias de Glória" ("Days of Glory")
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