...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

March 09, 2008

The Battle of Algiers - 7

This classic and influential film, tells the true story of the events in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria, Africa. Algeria was colonized by the French and in 1954 started a revolution called the National Liberation Front (NLF). Using grassroots methods of strategic bombings and killings, the cell groups were eventually eliminated by the French paratroopers. But Algeria was eventually able to gain independence in 1962. The parallels to the current war in Iraq are striking. And may help explain why the French were oppose to the US invasion, assuming that the current French government are true students of history. Amazingly this film was made only four years after the final events of the film. The film shows both the strategy of the NLF as well as the French Military (including conversations about the definition and use of torture). It provides a large picture of the battle, rather than a personal narrative focusing on one character or group. It almost seems as though it wants to work as a documentary or creative archive of the events. In current time it has many strikes against it. It has subtitles, it's in black and white, it's old, and while containing action is pretty slow paced. With all that said it still may be worth your time and consideration.


Anonymous said...

Pray tell, why are you inculcating a sense that subtitles = more work than it might be worth?

Regardless, this is a masterwork that combines political agency with a true humanistic understanding of all the parties that were involved. One of the most powerful films I've ever seen.


~greg said...

Ok, that was phrased badly on my part, I'm just taking into account a general American audience. I agree this shouldn't be an issue but for most it is. In fact I like watching films in English with subtitles just so as to not miss any dialogue.
Indeed a powerful film.