1943. They had never set foot on French soil, but because France was at war, four young Algerian men, Said, Abdelkader, Messaoud and Yassir, enlisted in the French army along with 130,00 other 'indigenous soldiers', to liberate the 'fatherland' from the Nazi enemy. Days of Glory chronicles the story of these forgotten heroes and the discrimination they subsequently faced from the French authorities. After seeing the film, French President Jacques Chirac agreed to restore veterans' pensions to the North Africans who fought along French troops during the war. A movie can make a difference...
Pulsating war drama that asks some tough questions
- Days of Glory review by Kurtz
General de Gaulle’s appeal to the French colonies to help liberate France from German occupation in the Second World War was answered by thousands of men who had never set foot in France and who came to learn at first hand about the ambivalent attitude of the colonial powers towards the “foreign” soldiers who fought alongside their men. It’s an excellent film which takes a cool look at notions of equality and race whilst delivering some gripping battlefield sequences amid the shattered landscapes of occupied Europe that echo the ending of “Saving Private Ryan.” At first the men are anonymous in their battle fatigues but by the end, as the unit is thinned down in time-honoured style, you care much more about their fate than their military masters seem to.
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- Days of Glory review by JD
Few war films really capture the full flavour of the second world war. They are either too dramatic / heroic or their focus is too much about personality. This has the perfect balance of emotions. The oppression of overseas conscriptions is the second layer of the plot that keeps the film compelling but for me it is the very real feeling of being in a chaotic battle situation with death randomly about and a sense of helpless under-preparedness. Fierceomly well acted.