"Indigenes" is a historical drama directed by Rachid Bouchareb. It was awarded at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and received many awards at the 2007 Césars ceremony.
The story takes place in 1943, when the French forces started the liberation of the town. It retraces the journey of four "indigenous" people, the forgotten soldiers of the first French army recruited in Africa. Abdelkader, Saïd, Messaoud and Yassin are known for their courage and are sent to the front line. They have different motives: for some it is financial, for others it is patriotism, but they all share a belief in freedom and equality.
The filming started at the “Manufacture Royale” in Bains-les-Bains and it then moved to the wood mill, an old nails production site turned into a village. Along several extras who were impressed to be in a film with Jamel Debouzze, the team continued its way to Fontenoy-le-Château, dressed in clothes and shoes faithful to the soldiers of the time, in the white powder of the winter, almost in the same conditions as in the real war.
Throughout the film, Rachid Bouchareb pays tribute to the "indigenous” soldiers of the Republic who fought for France. Every actor in the film gave their support in order to realize this project, which required several years of work. Indeed, documentation was an important part of the project and access to the archives was obtained to find old testimonies, as to try and not to change historical facts. Thus, many extras had to be able to identify themselves with soldiers who had actually participated in the combats.
The in-depth research related to the story, the difficult filming conditions in the bad weather as well as the difficulties in financing the project meant 5 years of pure labour by Rachid Bouchareb and his team in order to bring this project to the screen.