Dakar: French-Senegalese actor Omar Sy presented, on Tuesday, in Dakar, the film “Tirailleurs” by Mathieu Fadebede, a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Africans who fought for France during the world wars.
“This story connects the two countries, Senegal and France. It is entirely my story. It is also entirely my identity,” the French star said in a press conference.
The film, which will be released on January 4 in France and January 6 in Senegal, tells the story of young Thierno, who is forcibly conscripted by the French army in a small Senegalese village in 1917, and his father, who voluntarily hires him to watch him in this leap into the unknown, the discovery of France fell into a hell of The Great War.
Created by Napoleon III in 1857 in Senegal, hence its name, the Infantry Corps of Skirmishers then expanded in its recruitment of men from other regions of West and Central Africa occupied by France at the end of the nineteenth century.
Adversaries numbered over 200,000 to fight during the First World War, 150,000 in the Second, and 60,000 in Indochina. This is one of the first times their story has been shown on screen.
Omar Sy said, “Today, our generation needs this story to build us up, to take in history, and to see how we build ourselves in relation to these two countries.”
“Previous generations didn’t necessarily need this story because it was such a painful thing. Sometimes it’s better to silence the pain,” said Lubin’s Netflix rep, who is also a co-producer of the film.
“End with the Arc de Triomphe, The Unknown Soldier, in a Fulani voice… Every time I see these pictures, I feel so upset and I’m so proud to be involved in such a thing,” Omar Sy whose native language is Fulani is featured in the film.
The Senegalese disputants bemoan their heirs for not being recognized, particularly because of pensions lower than those of their French brothers-in-arms, or hard-to-obtain visas for their descendants.