Today I saw back-to-back screenings of two foreign films submitted for the Oscar.
The first was Z odzysku (RETRIEVAL) , the Polish entry. It's a typically dark Polish film, about a young man who is desperate enough for work to take a job as "security" for a local gangster. Although the film has some good moments, it's mostly melodrama that does not play as original.
The second film was much better. Indigènes (DAYS OF GLORY, a terrible title translation) is the true story of the Muslim Algerians & Moroccans who fought to defend France in World War II. This is the rare example of a film that gets better as it goes along, with the third act being the strongest part. The cast is good, particularly Jamel Debbouze, who was the goofy shop boy in AMELIE. I didn't realize until seeing this film that he is Moroccan, and he is in real life handicapped with a bad hand which he injured as a boy playing on train tracks when a train came by. This one is worth seeing.
Both films sounded very good, especially Indigènes, and benefit from the European style of minimal use of music.