By Amitava Sengupta(03 Jan 2009)
"In the year 1943, France is at war against Germany. Four Algerian men, Saïd (Jamel Debbouze), Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila), Messaoud (Roschdy Zem) and Yassir (Samy Naceri) have never set foot on French soil and know very little about the war. But when duty calls, they, like 1,30,000 others, enlist in the French Army as soldiers. And yet these “indigenous” North African soldiers, fighting to save a country they have never seen, face discrimination from the French authorities.
The four men struggle under the strict Sergeant Martinez (Bernard Blancan) who tries to toughen up the un-trained troops. But the half-Arab Sergeant, who claims to be of pure French origin, is caught between his loathing of Africans and his devotion to his troops. He treats the boys cruelly, refusing them not only leave and promotion but their very dignity as soldiers.
Days Of Glory is the story of the forgotten “indigenous” heroes and their loyalty to an ungrateful fatherland. They won battles in Italy, Provence and the Vosges fighting alongside French soldiers but found themselves alone defending an Alsatian village against a German battalion. Rachid Bouchareb’s film was so powerful that after seeing it, French President Jacques Chirac agreed to restore veteran pensions to the North Africans who fought alongside French troops during the war. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 2007 Academy Awards, and the Palme d’Or.