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Days of Glory (Indigènes) (R)

Director: Rachid Bouchareb. With Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem. (120 min.)

"Days of Glory" is about the North African soldiers who fought with the First French Army to liberate France from the Nazis. The irony, of course, is that the French at the time were the colonial occupiers of North Africa and were largely responsible for the racist mistreatment of its homegrown population. The First French Army, composed mostly of 130,000 North Africans, were referred to contemptuously by the French as indigènes – natives. Their bravery in wartime has never, until now, been adequately described in a movie. Director Rachid Bouchareb, who was born in Paris, depicts the odyssey of four North African soldiers fighting both the enemy and bigotry. The battle scenes and a few of the human vignettes are powerful, but too often the film falls back on conventional plot mechanics. The film is a nominee for this year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Grade: B

– Peter Rainer

East of Havana (Not Rated)

Directors: Jauretsi Saizarbitoria and Emilia Menocal. With various Cuban rap stars. (82 min.)

If you thought that the "Buena Vista Social Club" was all that needed to be said about Cuban music, now there's "East of Havana," which is about the Cuba rap scene. Directors Jauretsi Saizarbitoria and Emilia Menocal followed three young Cuban rappers as they get ready, with hurricane Charley impending, for the 2004 state-run hip-hop festival in Havana. Along the way, we see much of Cuban street culture and are reminded yet again what a stunningly musical people the Cubans are. The rap music we hear, which is produced outside Cuba's state-run music industry, is politically audacious and charged with personal expression and uplift. The film was produced by Charlize Theron's socially conscious company, Denver and Delilah films. Grade: A–

– P.R

Bridge to Terabithia (PG)

Director: Gabor Csupo. With AnnaSophia Robb, Josh Hutcherson, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick. (95 min.)

A passion for drawing and for running faster than everybody else has always set Jess (Josh Hutcherson) apart in his rural school and even at home. When city girl Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb) moves in next door, he finds a soul mate. To escape bullying and narrow-mindedness, the pair dreams up a land called Terabithia. Extraordinarily close to the book by Katherine Paterson in many ways, the film may even surpass it by showing how a shocking instance of grief can draw a family together. The book scarcely hints at the friends' imaginary experience in Terabithia, while the film depicts it in astonishing detail. Grade: B–

– M.K. Terrell

Sex/Nudity: none. Violence: 12. Language: 4 really mild expressions. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: none. 

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