Oscar-nominated pic celebrated in France
Film about North Africans who fought alongside the French soldiers, helping to liberate France in World War II, was mostly produced by France with Morocco, Algeria and Belgium co-producing.
Jean Brehat, who produced the $15 million film with helmer-scripter Rachid Bouchareb, said on Tuesday: “What makes me most happy is that an American academy has chosen a film about Arab heros in World War II. This is a side of America that Bush would make us forget. It is heartening that Academy members can make the distinction and show their support for people America treates as as the enemy today.”
For Paris-based sales house Films Distribution, which handled international sales on “Days of Glory,” nomination reps its second shot at best foreign-language film in as many years, since the company also handled last year’s French nominee, “Merry Christmas.”
” ‘Days of Glory’ is not a war film,” Films Distribution topper Francois Yon said, “it is a film that gives back Arab Muslims their rightful place as heros of World War II and is a reminder that Muslims weren’t always terrorists, they were allies.”
Company pushed for the film to rep Algeria, rather than France, in the Oscar race, believing it had a better chance of being selected.
“It was a way to position the film that I think has been successful,” Yon said.
Gallic contender “Avenue Montaigne,” a Paris-set ensembler by Daniele Thompson, did not make the cut this year.
“Days of Glory” was one of France’s biggest box office hits last year, garnering around 3 million admissions, and the film prompted France to end decades of injustice by up pensions for war vets of North African origin to the levels of French vets’ pensions.