This is a masterpiece, an epic tragedy that resembles a critical and uncovered chapter of human’s struggle against discrimination, poverty, tyranny and inequality, this movie explains a lot about the diversity of the modern days French society and the historical right of Arabs in France through the sacrifices of their ancestors to liberate France when it was in its weakest state, defeated, occupied and humiliated.
The original title in French is “indigènes” (indigenous) which refers to the native North Africans in French culture, I find this title more relevant than the English more commercial one “Days of Glory”.
For the first half of the movie I wasn’t getting the “glory” in nomad soldiers from the remote villages or Algerian mountains recruited in the French army to liberate France from German invasion! that was absolute dishonor according to my principles, it was obvious that French commanders don’t give a damn to the number of casualties between Arab and African soldiers as long as they achieve a symbolic victory over their oppressive opponent, discrimination was institutionalized, even “returning home” meant to French commanders returning to the French mainland, not returning every soldier to his own village in Africa.
Soldiers mingle into the French territories with people cheering and praising their courage in the battlefield, Arab soldiers feel they belong to France, Saiid says to a French young lady that was listening to his courage stories:
“je libère une pays, c’est mon pays” (I liberate a country, it’s my country).
Soldiers are now fighting for glory, for the principles of the French Revolution (liberté, égalité, fraternité) and under the slogans of Charles de Gaulle, they fight against Nazism and tyranny, they reject the German temptations to dilute their loyalty to the French army, they still see clear discrimination but still aspire for equality and fair compensation when they complete their mission and liberate what’s now their own land, France.
Music plays a great part in this movie, soundtrack and songs by Cheb Khalid are a solid part of the tragedy with its Arabic lyrics about alienation and leaving motherland in search for glory, homesickness and yearning to homeland’s characteristics.