Intimate Enemies (15)

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The Independent Culture

Florent Emilio Siri's horrifically disturbing story concerns a platoon of French soldiers fighting National Liberation Front guerrillas over rugged Algerian terrain in 1959. A raw young lieutenant (Benoît Magimel) tries to impose his humanitarian principles on the conduct of the war, a modus operandi his battle-hardened sergeant (Albert Dupontel) knows will fail amid this savagery.

The moral fascination lies in the film's inquiry into national identity: the "fellaghas" and the French fought on the same side 15 years earlier against the Nazis. (One powerful scene has a guerrilla who, before a firing squad, asks to be allowed to wear his French army medal.) This would make an instructive double bill with last year's Days of Glory.

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