DAYS OF GLORY (INGIGENES)
n Eye-Opening Account of Little Known History
Release Date: December 08, 2006
Starring: Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri,
Roshdy Zem, Sami Bouajila,
Bernard Blancan, Mathieu
Simonet, Benoit Giros, Melanie
Laurent, and Antoine Chappey
Genre: War Drama
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 120 Minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Co. and IFC
Director: Rachid Bouchareb
Executive Producer: Muriel Merlin
Producer: Jamel Debbouze, Thomas
Langmann and Jean Brehat
Writer: Olivier Lorelle
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein
The Weinstein Company
345 Hudson Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (646) 862-3400
Fax: (917) 368-7000
The writer, producers and director of the movie acknowledge that the purpose of the film is to educate the world on injustices that African soldiers faced by the French. Some examples of those injustices are represented in the film, but viewers probably will not the emotional “tug” they claim the movie brings. Part of the reason for that is that the reality of the shameful things that happened during that time in history are not portrayed strongly enough in the film. The reality is that the African soldiers were given lower pay, less privileges, and even less food supplies than the native French soldiers they fought along side during the war. That is certainly a regrettable fact, but not forcefully represented enough in the movie to inspire a deep emotional response.
The overall artistic quality is rather strong for a low-budget, independent film. One obvious distraction is the movie is in French with English subtitles. At times, there are grammatical mistakes in the subtitle writing. It’s also clear that many historical details had to be ignored because of the budget constraints the filmmakers faced. Another weakness of the film is the pace of the story. In between the action sequences of various battle scenes are the dramatic moments where the writer tries to draw viewers in and connect them to who these men are. Those dramatic moments are so slowly paced that viewers may begin to loose focus on the driving point of the movie and simply get bored. There is way too much lag time and attention given to events that are not crucial to the story and do not drive it forward. The story is understandable but does not draw you in as you might expect. The political agenda of the movie is an attempt to get the present day government of France, especially its president, to reinstate these soldiers and give back-pay and years of military pensions denied to the African soldiers who fought on behalf of the French during the war.
The movie's worldview contains several underlying Biblical principles including submission to authority, patriotism, loyalty, and moral behavior. One example is when a French officer tells the men they can plunder supplies from the towns where they fight, but may not even touch the women. At the same time, the same principle is displayed in immoral behavior. One of the main characters meets a woman with whom he falls in love and sleeps. The sex is only implied and there is no nudity in the film (except for a “classic” style nude painting hanging in a room of a house).
The four main characters are Muslim and too much needless attention is given to their religious practices. Some of their behavior, such as the promiscuity, is contrary to Muslim teachings and obviously immoral. In representing their Muslim beliefs and practices, the movie does not seem to be overtly “promoting” Islam, but no Christian beliefs or practices are represented in the non-African characters. All of these points are very objectionable, but they may be “true-to-life” in the biography of the main characters.
Overall, the film is average in quality but has an admirable cause for being made. Even Muslims deserve social justice, not because they are Muslim, but because they are human beings created by God.
DAYS OF GLORY tries to educate today’s people on the unfair ways the African soldiers were treated by the French. The movie presents several examples, but not in an emotionally strong way. The visual quality and special effects of the fighting sequences are pretty good. The directing seems average because the pace lags too often. The strongest quality is the acting. The movie's content is also a strong point, with the worldview extolling duty, self-sacrifice and patriotism. It was not necessary, however, to focus so much attention on the men's Muslim beliefs.