Black and White in Color is a 1976 war film and black comedy directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud in his directorial debut. It depicts French colonists at war with the Germans in French West Africa during World War I. The film adopts a strong antimilitaristic point of view, and is noteworthy for ridiculing the French side even more harshly than their German counterparts.
Though a comedy, the film’s portrayal is accurate with a light touch. Ironically this film is the first and only Oscar win for Cote d’Ivoire, as the film was enitrely filmed in Cote d’Ivoire. It won the 1976 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
#FactsOnly As depicted in the Film:
-The first shot fired by British troops in World War I is commonly attributed to sergeant-major Alhaji Grunshi of the Gold Coast Regiment in the Togoland campaign.
-Togoland (present day Togo) campaign lasted for 17 days, 9-26 August 1914, whilst the Kamerun (present day Cameroon) campaign lasted 1 year, 7 months and 4 days.
-The Germans lost this war effort and colonies were divided amongst the Brits and French.
-France recruited soldiers massively in its African colonies. According to historian Myron Echenberg, 170,000 soldiers from French West Africa (today’s Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger) fought for France during World War I. Among them, 30,000 died in combat.
-The British recruited over 1 million Indians to fight in World War I in Europe and Africa.
- In the African campaigns however, though white Europeans were fighting each other, they met on the battlefield first and foremost as fellow colonists, who shared the view of their own superiority to the “indigenous”, the “natives”, the “savages”.
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