[Originally posted on 9-12 and lost in cyberspace}
Sitting at home on top of my DVD player is Rachid Bouchareb’s earlier film, Days of Glory (Indigènes). Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to watch it before I left for Toronto. His new film is the sequel to that one and takes place some twenty years on.
The three Algerian brothers of the earlier film have reunited in Setif, which is shortly to become the sight of a French massacre. The atrocity radicalizes the brothers in different ways, but they are irrevocably going down a path where historical imperatives are stronger than personal ambition, happiness, and inclination.
Bouchareb lays bare the colonial mindset arrayed in all its imperialistic (in every sense of the word), inglorious robes. Mixed with superb archival newsreel footage, the film is brutal, and unflinching, passionate and warning. The patriot of today is the terrorist of the future.
It seems Bouchareb’s life mission will be to hammer at the historical injustices done to his homeland until his last breath. The film will likely be positioned as an organized crime drama, but it is much more than that, and emphasis on that aspect will probably undermine its impact. It’s a highly political cinema experience. The shifting alliances which underlie colonialism and occupation, during and after war, complicates the history, but Bouchareb is adept at telling the story intelligently, without dumbing down the politics.
An eye-opener for me. Several references and parallels to the war in Indochina, another failed French foray – and inherited by us truly to thwart the Red/Yellow menace.