A film commissioned by the Algerian government that shows the Algerian revolution from both sides. The French foreign legion has left Vietnam in defeat and has something to prove. The Algerians are seeking independence. The two clash. The torture used by the French is contrasted with the Algerian's use of bombs in soda shops. A look at war as a nasty thing that harms and sullies everyone who participates in it. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Although the mass scenes look spontaneous, it took quite some planning to make them look that way. Director Gillo Pontecorvo would often draw chalk lines on the ground, dividing the mass in separate groups which had to start walking on cue in order to get proper crowd movement. He also used multiple cameras at a time and used footage from different angles to create the impression that crowds were much larger than they were in reality. See more »
Ali's first assignment is to assault a police officer. During this, the cop's hat falls to the ground, and the position of the hat changes between cuts. See more »
We need to have the Kasbah at our disposal. We have to sift through it and interrogate everyone. And that's where we find ourselves hindered by a conspiracy of laws and regulations that continue to operate as if Algiers were a holiday resort and not a battleground. We've requested a carte blanche, but that's very difficult to obtain. Therefore, it's necessary to find an excuse to legitimize our intervention and make it possible. It's necessary to create this for ourselves, this excuse. Unless ...
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If one has not seen this film, one cannot begin to imagine Pontecorvo's extraordinary achievement. The acting is so natural and convincing that many viewers and even some critics assumed that the movie was a documentary. Only a master director could have taken this raw acting material and gotten such performances out of it. And despite his leftist viewpoint, Pontecorvo neither ridicules or demonizes the French, as does Michael Moore the Americans in his recent putative documentaries Bowling at Columbine and Farenheit 9-11 - though I do a disservice to Pontecorvo to compare his work to that of Moore.
See this movie now that it has been released on DVD in the United States and learn from the history it so brilliantly conveys.
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