Showing posts with label algeria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label algeria. Show all posts

5 July 2012

Blu-Ray Review: Battle Of Algiers

No comments: Links to this post


The Battle of Algiers made in 1966 by the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, it tells the story of the events that happened in capital of French Algeria between November 1954 and December 1960. It’s done in fictionalized documentary style that when it was shown in the United States they literally had to have a disclaimer that read, “not one feet of newsreel footage was used”. It shot in Black & White instead of colour, which of course heightened the newsreel feel of the film.

The film’s first scene features somebody getting tortured and from the get go you know your in for a ride. The film for the most part about the French occupations of Algeria oppressing the Native Algerian people in their capital. The Algerians fight back with urban guerrilla warfare until the French bring in paratroopers to hunt the urban guerrilla army the “National Liberation Front” (FNL). The film depicts the French racistly attacking the Algerian natives and The French are consistently seen torturing and eventually murdering FNL fighters.

The film is extremely astonishing to experience and your often just in awe by how on earth they actually pulled it off. You literally see explosives going off very close to the actors who actually for the most part were non-professional actors

Pontecorvo tried to get the actors to react to the situations they were put in rather than just “act”. This technique is still often used for example in many of Mike Leigh’s films. It makes you feel like your are infact watching this war happening in real time in front of your eyes instead of watching a film. The film originally was supposed to be a “balanced” film. They eventually told it though the Algerian point of view so it obviously is on their side.

The film’s use of sound and music is particularly striking which incorporates Ennio Morricone’s score and it's extremely overwhelming. In some scenes they mixed the chanting of Algerian people and Morricone’s score to enhance the emotional power of these scenes. Pontecorvo also radically used the same piece of music for 2 different scenes, which featured the French and Algerian people getting murdered.

The film’s guerrilla techniques actually inspired Radical far left terrorist organizations like the Black Panthers, Red Army Fraction and IRA. It was shown in the Algerian football team before they played England to inspire them, they held England to 0-0 draw. The film has grown a whole new life since 2003 with the 2nd Gulf War with many critics drawing parallels with the Algerian war and the 2nd Gulf War. It has been screened a lot and re-issued in the last few years with this in mind.

The Battle of Algiers is one of the few films that perfectly blends the line with was is real and what is actually a film, the film really should be mandatory viewing for all.

Ian Schultz

Directed byGillo Pontecorvo
Cast:Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Ugo Paletti
Buy/Pre-order:The Battle of Algiers On Blu-ray
THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS BLU-RAY 50th Anniversary Edition - Argent Films Ltd. Published via