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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Days of Glory" )

 

directed by Rachid Bouchareb
France/Algeria 2006

 

People have a tendency to view totalizing events such as World War II in terms of grand narratives. Thus, history becomes a series of dates and numbers rather than something remembered as a sum of personal experiences. Beginning with 1998’s Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line, contemporary moviemakers have been privileging the personal, rebuking the jingoism of war pictures from the 1940s to 1970s. This is a world-wide trend as seen with movies like Enemy at the Gates (directed by a Frenchman and set in Russia), Downfall (directed by a German), Tae Guk Gi (directed by a Korean), and Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima (directed by an American looking at both sides of the WWII Pacific Theatre).

In general, the French like to perpetuate the myth that the entire country was involved in the Resistance or was in exile supporting de Gaulle during WWII. The reality is that Vichy France helped the Nazis deport Jews and other unfortunates to concentration camps. The reality is that Francois Mitterrand, one of France’s presidents during the 20th Century, was a Vichy collaborator. The reality is that France received significant logistical help from its colonies in Africa; approximately 200,000 men from France’s colonies joined the French army and helped liberate the “motherland”. Unfortunately, France discarded these men after the war, refusing to pay them their wages and pensions.

France’s shameful treatment of its colonial subjects is the subject of Indigenes (Days of Glory in the United States). The movie follows four North-African soldiers in various campaigns, all the while wearing sandals issued to them by the French even in the middle of bitter winter. Some of the soldiers hope to gain parity with white Frenchmen if they prove themselves on the battlefield. Some of the soldiers take the opportunity to hone their skills for upcoming fights for independence from European domination. They all become disillusioned, for their leaders espouse republican ideals while treating non-French people with contempt. The French are proud people, but they should not be so proud considering what they have done throughout history.

As with most “message” movies, Indigenes can be a bit heavy-handed at times. (It seems as if the director wants to imply that Arab soldiers freed France by themselves.) However, there are times when light needs to be shed on issues that have been buried by unjust forces. Indigenes provides insights into why Arab resentment of Europeans and Americans is understandable.

Yunda Eddie Feng

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Theatrical Release: 25 May 2006 (Cannes Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 123 min
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.99 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Arabic/French
Subtitles Optional English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Genius Products

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• The Making of Indigenes
• The Colonial Friend short film
• trailers

DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007
keepcase

Chapters 18

 

Comments:

Video: While the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image sometimes exhibits a gritty graininess that is to be expected with harsh shooting conditions and the subject matter, this is a very strong transfer from. Contrast is decent, and the picture is generally sharp for an SD-DVD.

Audio: Indigenes is a recent war movie, so you can expect the usual dynamic sonics of superb Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes. The dialogue is in a mix of Arabic and French (with some German). The bass is not as tight or powerful as what you get with Hollywood’s best, and genuine discreet directionality effects are rather rare. Still, you get an excellent audio experience with this DVD.

Extras: Upon loading, the DVD plays an anti-smoking commercial and trailers for other movies distributed by Genius Products.

This DVD does not have a lot of extras, but they are worth repeat viewings. “The Making of Indigenes” has mostly interview clips with members of the cast and crew as they discuss history and personal connections to North Africans who fought for France. The Colonial Friend is an animated short film by the director of Indigenes; in this piece, we see how badly Senegalese men were treated by the French after World War II ended. Thematically, Indigenes and The Colonial Friend make the damning argument that France was perhaps one of the worst colonial powers in all history.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 


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screenshot from The Colonial Friend

 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC





 

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