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>
The only professional actor in the film is Jean Martin as Coloniel Matthieu. Director Gillo Pontecorvo wanted at least one professional actor, particularly in that pivotal role. The two argued frequently on set as Pontecorvo was trying to reign in Martin so that his performance would lie better with those of the non-professionals. 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 »
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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"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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