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
This film's closing epilogue states: "In 1959, a law was passed to freeze the pensions of infantrymen from former French colonies about to become independent. In 2002, after endless hearings, the French government was ordered to pay the pensions in full. But successive governments have pushed back this payment." See more »
When Abdelkader and Yassir carry the bodies of killed soldiers in a cart to bury them, Yassir rests his gun against the wheel. In the next shot, the gun falls to the ground from a completely different position. See more »
I did not know what to expect from this movie starring guys like Djamel Debbouzze or Samy Naceri, more used to non sense jokes and wrong way taxi driving, but I must say I was astonished.
First pictures are beautiful, dialogs and pace slow but efficient.
Second the way the four main characters perform is great (although Naceri is maybe not quite as good as the three others). All moved by different motivations, they have a sole dream: to be a real part of it, a part of the French country they have been fighting for. And they make you believe it. Not only because they fit perfectly into their roles, but also because the suffering and the inequalities they undergo in the war fields of the movie still exist six decades after in their every day life.
"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". True it was in Provence or in Alsace, true it is in today's France.
To me this film is more than the French Private Ryan, it is a subtle way to ask: "how much more is it going to take before we can all be on the same boat ?" Go and see it.
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