Not everyone in Gaul is basking in the glory of “Days of Glory” (Indigenes), the Algerian entry in this year’s foreign-language Oscar race.
“Days,” which tells the story of soldiers from France’s North African colonies who helped liberate Gaul from Nazis during WWII, has been seen by nearly 2 million people in France, grossed more than $16 million and convinced president Jacques Chirac to raise the pensions of war vets from France’s former colonies to the same as those of French vets.
But interior minister and presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy last week blasted the film in the local press as being “far from a popular success” and accused Chirac and wife Bernadette of acting as the pic’s press agents.
“Never has a film been so expensive to France, since it was while watching it that Chirac pledged E100 million to the soldiers’ pensions,” said the firebrand politico.
Helmer Rachid Bouchareb is staying above the political fray.
“I don’t even think Sarkozy has seen the film,” Boucharb told Variety while promoting the pic at the London film fest.
The Weinstein Co. is handling the film’s release Stateside, set for Dec. 15, and Bouchareb hopes to draw the attention of an-other filmmaker who’s tackled war onscreen.
“Everyone says my film resembles ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ says the helmer. “The French minister of culture has written to Steven Spielberg inviting him to a screening. I’d love him to see my film.”