The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war film co-written and directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring Jean Martin and Saadi Yacef. The film has been critically acclaimed. Both insurgent groups and state authorities have considered it to be an important commentary on urban guerrilla warfare. English subtitles.
Originally published by Wind Born Films Kolektiva Channel.
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The Battle of Algiers (Italian: La battaglia di Algeri; Arabic: معركة الجزائر, romanized: Maʿrakat al-Jazāʾir) is a 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war film co-written and directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring Jean Martin and Saadi Yacef. It is based on events by rebels during the Algerian War (1954–1962) against the French government in North Africa; the most prominent being the titular Battle of Algiers, the capital of Algeria. It was shot on location and the film’s score was composed by Ennio Morricone. The film was shot in a Roberto Rossellini-inspired newsreel style: in black and white with documentary-type editing to add to its sense of historical authenticity, with mostly non-professional actors who had lived through the real battle. It is often associated with Italian neorealist cinema.
The film concentrates mainly on revolutionary fighter Ali La Pointe during the years between 1954 and 1957, when guerrilla fighters of the FLN regrouped and expanded into the Casbah, the citadel of Algiers. Their actions were met by French paratroopers attempting to regain territory. The highly dramatic film is about the organization of a guerrilla movement and the illegal methods, such as torture, used by the colonial power to contain it. Algeria succeeded in gaining independence from the French, which Pontecorvo addresses in the film’s epilogue.
The film has been critically acclaimed. Both insurgent groups and state authorities have considered it to be an important commentary on urban guerrilla warfare. It occupies the 48th place on the Critics’ Top 250 Films of the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, as well as 120th place on Empire magazine’s list of the ‘500 greatest movies of all time’. It was selected to enter the list of the “100 Italian films to be saved”.
A subject of socio-political controversy, the film was not screened for five years in France; it was released in 1971.
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