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Running Time:
2 hours, 5 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for war violence and brief language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A powerful historical epic that's also a moving action-packed war movie.

Additional Info:
DVD features: The making of Days of Glory (Inidgènes); The Colonial Friend-A Short Film; Language French 5.1; Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH

Days of Glory
This is the dramatic story of the contributions and sacrifices made in the liberation of France by North African or "indigenous" volunteers in the French army. It focuses on several of the African/Arabs who were subject to racism and bigotry even though they were willing to fight for a country they never set foot on. Their battles take them through Italy and into Provence and the Vosges before a handful of survivors fight a final battle in an Alsatian village against a German battalion.

Among them are Said Otmari played by the comic actor Jamal Debbouze (Spike Lee's "She Hate Me"), in his first dramatic role. Born in poverty, Said's mother begs him not to enlist but he is determined to fight for France. Messaoud Souni (Roschdy Zem), falls in love with a French woman but is unaware officers are censoring his letters to her. Yassir (Samy Naceri) is fighting to help pay for his brother's wedding, even going so far as to removing jewelry from dead soldiers’ hands. He fights side-by-side with his brother Larbi (Assaad Bouab). Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila) bristles at his second-class citizenship status when it comes to promotions and leaves. Their sergeant, Martinez (Bernard Blancan), is constantly torn between devotion to his troops and his own mixed feelings about North Africans.

The tensions between the French commanders and the indigenous troops and the conflicts among themselves over how best to respond to provocations are what gives the film its dramatic relevance. And in a final bit of irony during the closing credits there is the shameful disclosure that with the decolonization of Africa, the French government froze the pensions of the ex-servicemen from its former colonies. The issue is still unresolved.

This compelling film not only illuminates a little known story from the second World War, but also deals with the seldom discussed subject of what it means to be a citizen, a patriot, and still be an outsider.

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