Indigènes (2006)

Movie still
Indigènes (2006), directed by Rachid Bouchareb, is the first of four French films I’m screening at TIFF.

Indigènes is one part Glory, one part Saving Private Ryan and one part Band of Brothers. Instead of
African American soldiers in a civil war, we have North African soldiers fighting for France during World War II.

The film chronicles the struggle of four African ‘brothers’ as they serve in the First French Army. They are referred to as indigènes or natives. When France was occupied by the Nazi’s during the war, 130,000 North Africans enlisted to fight for their colonizer.

Instead of respect and gratitude, the French military treat the North African recruits with disdain. Aside from fighting the Nazi’s, the indigènes have to fight the bigotry, and racism of the French. To this day, France has withheld pensions from the North Africans that graciously served in World War II. Incredible! Typical.

I hate to criticize Indigènes because the direction and performances are terrific. But every now and again I felt like I was watching a scene from Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan. C’est la vie.

Artistically, there are some really nice aerial views that transition into a scene when the story moves to a new location. See this one on the big screen.**½

Films are rated from 1 to 4 stars.

Posted in 2006 TIFF and Movie Reviews at 10:45 PM