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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Gillo Pontecorvo and composer Ennio Morricone had regular disagreements over the movie's score. At one point, Pontecorvo had a melody stuck in his mind which he desperately wanted as a theme in the movie. He went to Morricone's apartment to play it for him, and hummed the tune all the way up to the top floor. Then Morricone asked him to wait with the tune, since he had conceived a melody of his own. To Pontecorvo's surprise, the tune was exactly the same as the one he had in mind, and he was delighted to find out that after all those months of struggling, they had finally found something, separate from each other, on which they could agree. It wasn't until months later at the Venice film festival that Morricone admitted that he had pulled a prank on him; he had already heard Pontecorvo humming the song while coming up the stairs, and decided to pretend he had come up with the same melody himself. See more »
Early on in the film when a man is being escorted to the guillotine in an Algiers prison, there is a cut from a long shot of the courtyard to a close-up and two men wearing suits suddenly appear by the guillotine even though there is no door nearby through which they could have emerged. See more »
It's hard to start a revolution. Even harder to continue it. And hardest of all to win it. But, it's only afterwards, when we have won, that the true difficulties begin. In short, Ali, there's still much to do.
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An historian writing about the Algerian war against the French colonial authorities entitled his book "A Savage War of Peace". "The Battle of Algiers" provides many answers to that enigmatic title. It does not attempt to show us the entire war but centers on the city of Algiers. Even though you are told at the beginning that no documentary footage is used it is at times hard to believe as many of the images you see have a stark and often unsettling reality to them. Considering that this was a co production between Algeria and Italy the film is remarkable in that it does not turn itself a political tirade by taking sides. Instead the camera is a sort of neutral observer allowing us to witness events that spiraled from individual demonstrations to a full scale war of savage intensity. French officers who fought the Nazis a few years before degenerated into the mode of their former enemy while Algerians had no problems exploding bombs that would kill their own people. The camera shows no heros or villains but humanity in its darkest forms. This is a powerful film with superb direction and cinematography. It truly is one of a kind and once seen will never be forgotten.
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