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 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 »
Ali's first assignment is to assault a police officer. During this, the cop's hat falls to the ground, and the position of the hat changes between cuts. See more »
The law's often inconvenient, Colonel.
And those who explode bombs in public places, do they respect the law perhaps? When you put that question to Ben M'Hidi, remember what he said?
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Great war movie? Yes---and maybe the best POLITICAL movie ever.
I wish I could locate a videocassette of this film--subtitled, not dubbed. The first time I saw it, I was a little put off by what I thought was a pompous disclaimer that "not one foot" of documentary footage had been used. But, in light of the finished product, it's a remarkable statement. If a film has better captured the harsh and ugly realities that are an inevitable part of a true revolutionary movement, I never saw it. It is greatly to its credit that one never gets a sense of "good guys vs. bad guys" here--only of people trapped in a truly impossible set of circumstances, from which no escape is possible without confrontation and bloodshed. It was depressing to see this movie in Berkeley in the early 70s, and hear the audience cheer the "heroic" Algerian revolutionaries while booing the "villainous" French, in view of the great pains that had been taken to present a balanced viewpoint. This film is thrilling, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and beautiful--sometimes by turns and sometimes all at once. If you haven't seen it and it show up anywhere in the vicinityh, drop everything and go--and pray that it's subtitled and not dubbed. (There are dubbed prints and, as is usually the case, dubbing pretty nearly wrecks it.) This is a masterpiece.
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