The Battle of Algiers

  • Film
  • Drama
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Gillo Pontecorvo’s stirring anatomy of an urban uprising – the violent nationalist revolt in Algiers in 1956 and 1957 – feels strikingly relevant today. It shows the real consequences of defying popular will with institutional aggression and military force, and of course there are those chilling scenes in which Algerian women, dressed as Europeans, plant four simultaneous bombs in busy public spaces… The film arose directly out of the liberation movement it depicts: post-independence in 1962, former rebel Saadi Yacef was released from jail and, with the support of the new government, he invited the Italian filmmaker to dramatise his memoirs. The results are so fine – so modern – that I can’t think of a better film born of a political struggle, or at least one that moulds political commentary with drama so effectively. The tone is mournful, the approach journalistic and the aesthetic direct as Pontecorvo reconstructs events on a grand scale on location in Algiers while never losing the intimacy of an Algerian woman quietly crying or a French couple walking past a checkpoint with the words ‘It’s nothing we need to worry about.’ Superb and unrivalled.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday May 11 2007
Duration: 135 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
Screenwriter: Franco Solinas
Cast: Jean Martin
Yacef Saadi
Brahim Haggiag
Samia Kerbash
Fusia El Kader

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Technoguy

This black and white film set the bar for films/documentaries of resistance movements and guerilla struggle against the colonialism of the West. This is shot like it's really happening(as it did) using non actors or native people who had been involved in the struggle. It is also a balanced account giving the picture of torture,murder of the fascist power of French troops and also the terrorist methods and use of bombs in civilian areas by the occupied Algerian resistance, sheltered by the populace. It's up there with otherb/w films of class: Paths of Glory and The Gospel According to St. Mathew.

Technoguy

This black and white film set the bar for films/documentaries of resistance movements and guerilla struggle against the colonialism of the West. This is shot like it's really happening(as it did) using non actors or native people who had been involved in the struggle. It is also a balanced account giving the picture of torture,murder of the fascist power of French troops and also the terrorist methods and use of bombs in civilian areas by the occupied Algerian resistance, sheltered by the populace. It's up there with otherb/w films of class: Paths of Glory and The Gospel According to St. Mathew.