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>
The character of Col. Matthieu is loosely based on the real life General Jacques Massu. Right-wing elements in the French Army, led by General Massu seized power in Algiers and threatened to conduct an assault on Paris, involving paratroopers and armored forces based at Rambouillet, unless Charles de Gaulle was placed in charge of the Republic of France. 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 »
Couldn't you have talked sooner? It would've gone easier for you.
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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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