Nov. 7 2009
Battle of Algiers
Originally released in 1965 and banned by the French, Gillo Pontecorvo's historical film masterpiece has been called "One of the most remarkable films of all time". (IMDB) Commissioned by the Algerian government, Pontecorvo's film brings us into the middle of the 1954 to 1962 Franco-Algerian conflict and the struggle that faced both the Algerians and the French colonials who had occupied the nation since the 1830s. In the 1960s the French Foreign Legion had pulled out of Vietnam in defeat. This defeat would not happen again in any French territory and efforts where directed to Algeria where the people are rising up and shouting for independence. It's not long before a full scale revolution is at hand. This film closely studies both sides and shows the immoral face of killing versus the struggle of achieving freedom and independence. It shows the malicious torture of the French versus the Arab-led bombing campaigns that used women and children as couriers. It truly shines light on what man is willing to do in order to gain what is far from his grasp. From the beginning Pontecorvo wanted his film to feel real, to play out like a documentary as if they were there when the revolution was happening. In order to achieve this, the filmmaker, through mise-en-scene, shot in black and white, used the real Algerian locations, and, most importantly, used real revolutionaries that fought the French, including one of its leaders, Yacef Saadi. Yacef was also an adviser to the film, making sure that the practices of the Algerian campaign was as accurately depicted in the plot as possible. (IMDB) In analyzing the historical content of the film, the FLN(Front de Libération Nationale or The National Liberation Front) uprising presented nationalist groups with the question of whether to adopt armed revolt as the main mode of action. During the first year of the war, Ferhat Abbas's UDMA (Democratic Union of the Algerian Manifesto), the ulama,...
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