This article is a critical reading of the Franco-Algerian filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb’s films and their reception in France, Algeria, and the United States. Whereas Days of Glory, which deals with African soldiers who fought on behalf of France in World War II, was praised for its realism, Outside the Law, taking the form of a gangster film, failed to garner the label of authenticity in its treatment of the Algerian War of Independence. By analyzing the shift from Day of Glory to Outside the Law in the filmic language that characterizes Bouchareb’s style, and the public response to it, Merkel attempts to construct a language of tropes, forms, and contexts that determine the palatability of African art, notably in metropolitan France.

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