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Oct 17, 2005

BW in Color

This Best Foreign Language Oscar Winner of 1976 tells the story of a small mismatched troupe of French expatriates in French Equitorial Africa during WW1 trying to stage a battle with Germans in the same place, to support the war efforts of their country in the real war raging somewhere far off.

In a way it is a sarcastic portrayal of the colonizers(French in this case), how primitive they are beneath the flaky superiority they tout based on their skin color. The film presents a universal manipulative play that has taken place in many battles and wars since time immemorial - the real war is fought by the people who are the least associated with the cause. Both the French and the Germans, the opposing sides in this movie has native Africans to fight for them, finally the British contingent which arrives bearing the news of the ending of the World War is led by an East Indian captain named Shashi Kapoor.

The film is a humorous take on what happens when a small group of expatriate Europeans overcome with national spirit tries to stage their own mini version of a World War in the heart of Africa. Their interactions with natives, the behavior of natives, the natives' interpretations about the white man and his culture are all subtly hilarious.