Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

'Days of Glory' to screen Oct. 22-25

RELEASED: Oct. 8, 2009

poster for Days of GloryEAU CLAIRE — The forgotten story of Algerian Arabs — "indignes," or "natives" — who volunteered to fight for France in World War II is told in "Days of Glory" (2006), screening Oct. 22-25 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, the gritty, old-fashioned war movie will be presented at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

In 1940, France surrendered to the Nazis and 1.4 million French soldiers were prisoners in Germany. Continuing its fight against the Axis forces with little more than 7,000 men to count on, Free France began to recruit men from France's African, Oceanic and Asian colonies. This support from the colonies provided Free France with legitimacy, allowing France a presence beside the Allies in the conflict. The major turning point came with the Allied landing in North Africa in November 1942, which allowed the progressive reconstruction of the French Army.

In collective memory, the liberation of France and Europe is seen as being due to the Normandy landing in 1944, the action of Resistance members, and the Soviet offensive on the Eastern Front. Less remembered is the offensive from the south and from Italy, which allowed the opening of a second front before the landing in Normandy. This victorious battle to advance on Germany, after much bloodshed and great losses, was the accomplishment of the First French Army, recruited in Africa. Alongside the Anglo-American Allies, this was the army that participated in the liberation of France after battles in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Corsica and the Allied landing in Provence.

"Days of Glory" opens in 1943, telling the story of four recruits. In Algeria, Saïd (Jamel Debbouze) wishes to escape poverty and find a family in the French Army. From Morocco, Yassir (Samy Naceri) is a traditional Berber who joins for the money and sees his service pragmatically, as the way to a better life. Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila) is an idealistic corporal who is fighting for liberty and equality. In joining the French army he hopes for France's recognition, and more justice toward the colonized Algerians once the war is over. Messaoud (Roschdy Zem) is a marksman surprised by the welcome from the French. He hopes to marry and live in France, to escape the apartheid in Algeria.

The film's four key players collectively received the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival.

"As directed by Rachid Bouchareb, himself born in France to Algerian immigrants, 'Days of Glory' is a kind of a North African 'Saving Private Ryan,' a taut, involving film that delivers all the things we look for in war movies and does so with intelligence and integrity," wrote the Los Angeles Times. New York Magazine called it "a rousing memorial to the Muslims who fought against Germany — and fought because they wanted to be Frenchmen. ... Scene after scene makes its anti-racist point, and yet the film isn't a series of head butts. It's a measured, classical piece of storytelling that gives you room to breathe."

In French and Arabic, with English subtitles, the 120-minute, R-rated film is presented by the International Film Society.

Admission is free at the door with a Blugold Card or International Film Society membership. Memberships are available at the Service Center (715-836-3727) in Davies Center's east lobby.

More information about the campus film series is available online and at the Activities and Programs office, Davies Center 133.

-30-

JS/DW

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.