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 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 »
In the final scenes of the film, showing the mass street protests, the French police are backed up by armored vehicles that are, in fact, Soviet-made SU-100 tank destroyers. These were part of the Algerian military when the film was made in 1966 after independence, but would not have been present or used by the French at any time. See more »
Should we remain in Algeria? If you answer "yes," then you must accept all the necessary consequences.
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An historian writing about the Algerian war against the French colonial authorities entitled his book "A Savage War of Peace". "The Battle of Algiers" provides many answers to that enigmatic title. It does not attempt to show us the entire war but centers on the city of Algiers. Even though you are told at the beginning that no documentary footage is used it is at times hard to believe as many of the images you see have a stark and often unsettling reality to them. Considering that this was a co production between Algeria and Italy the film is remarkable in that it does not turn itself a political tirade by taking sides. Instead the camera is a sort of neutral observer allowing us to witness events that spiraled from individual demonstrations to a full scale war of savage intensity. French officers who fought the Nazis a few years before degenerated into the mode of their former enemy while Algerians had no problems exploding bombs that would kill their own people. The camera shows no heros or villains but humanity in its darkest forms. This is a powerful film with superb direction and cinematography. It truly is one of a kind and once seen will never be forgotten.
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