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>
Film critics and historians have identified this film as one of the first to depict North Africans as complex and fully-developed characters. Historians have argued that previous films had largely included North Africans as little more than part of the backdrop or scenery; this film, in contrast, dealt with them as people. 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 aren't madmen or sadists, gentlemen. Those who call us Fascists today, forget the contribution that many of us made to the Resistance. Those who call us Nazis, don't know that among us there are survivors of Dachau and Buchenwald. We are soldiers and our only duty is to win.
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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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