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 »
The foot responsible for tripping Ali when running down the street changes from the right to the left foot 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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"Battle of Algiers" is simply one of the greatest films every made. If film making can be about truth as well as fantasy, then a movie that includes a title card telling viewers that there is not one foot of documentary or newsreel footage in it must deserve viewing.
"Battle of Algiers" contains scenes that seem so real, you suspect that they couldn't have been staged. When three Algerian women come down from the Casbah to plant bombs in the French quarter of the city, you can almost cut the tension with a knife. When the bombs go off, you think they must have been real bombs. And when you see the devastation they leave in their wake, you cannot fail to be moved. The massive rebellion in the streets at the end of the film also seems so real, you sit wondering how many extras must have been injured filming those scenes.
"Battle of Algiers" combines brilliant photography, crisp direction, an intriguing plot and some very fine acting. Throw in a terrific music score, splendid editing, impressive special effects and the best example ever of docudrama style production and you have a masterpiece of film making.
But film making is not nearly as important as human life and no film in general release today says more about America's current involvement in the middle east and many other parts of the world than this picture about the French in Algeria, made more than three decades ago.
Every American should view this film, then think about our current occupation of Iraq.
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