This is another offering from French film maker Rachid Bochareb and it is the sequel to the acclaimed `Days of Glory' and indeed stars the same actors. Most notably is Jamel Debbouze as `Said as the youngest brother in the family'. The first part dealt with the African colonial forces that helped France rid herself of Nazi occupation. This takes it a stage further to when those same soldiers fight against France for the self determination of Algeria.
The film is predominantly in French with a fair smattering of Arabic and some pretty good sub titles. It starts in 1925 with the family being thrown off their ancestral land by the French and then takes us on a tour of the many low points for France heading toward the painful birth of Algeria. We even have the massive defeat of the French by the Vietnamese at Dien Bien Phu thrown in. This is not a war movie, even though there is plenty of action, and I have to say it gets the thumbs up for attention to period detail. There are depictions of the massacres that took place in both Algeria and Paris too and the only punches pulled are those in the boxing ring that Said sets up as one of his nefarious money making deals.
It deals with the inter political rivalry of the FLN and the MNA, the two leading and conflicting Algerian parties are shown in their brutal reality. It has a noir feel about it in places and shows the crushing poverty that drives people to do extraordinary things. It is well acted, well directed and beautifully shot. It has been criticised for being anti French, but it is really anti colonial and some might see this as a post revisionist guilt trip, but I think it is a slice of awkward history from Frances' recent past.
The depiction of the para military death squads, extra judicial, executions as well as legitimate ones, show a willingness to really explore the story in all its' facets. A third instalment is planned, but as this did not do as well as `days of Glory' it may be a bit of a wait. Either way you do not need to have seen the first film to get this. I thought it was ruddy good and kept me guessing right up to the end and held my interest through out, I can only recommend.