Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Ivory Coast/France/West Germany/Switzerland, 1976. Artco-Film, France 3 Cinéma, Reggane Films, Smart Film Produktion, Société Française de Production, Société Ivoirienne de Cinema. Screenplay by Jean-Jacques Annaud, Georges Conchon. Cinematography by Claude Agostini. Produced by Arthur Cohn, Jacques Perrin, Giorgio Silvagni. Music by Pierre Bachelet. Production Design by Max Douy. Film Editing by Francoise Bonnot. Academy Awards 1976.
This delightfully absurd comedy has French colonials in 1914 North Africa prove their patriotism by making war with their German neighbours: after all, they’re at war in Europe, so they initiate what is at first a fun battle of wits that escalates into full-scale conflict. Things get really serious when the French recruit African natives into their little army. Beautifully photographed and full of memorably deranged characters, this terrific film by Jean-Jacques Annaud uses a microcosm as a humorous exercise on the nature and folly of colonialism, racism and war itself.