Sunday, 20 May 2007

Film Review: The Battle of Algiers

Title: The Battle of Algiers
Language: French
Release date: 1966

This classic, shot in a quasi-documentary style and commissioned by the Algerian government, covers the violent struggle in the late 1950s for Algerian independence from France. It shows the clash between the French foreign legion and Muslim nationalists from both sides. The torture used by the French is contrasted with the Algerian's use of bombs in public outlets.

The film was banned in France, and the torture scenes were cut in the US and UK. With the advent of the "war against terror" in recent years, the film's relevance has only intensified. In 2003, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon screened this film for officers and civilian experts who were discussing the challenges faced by the US military forces in Iraq. The flier inviting guests to the screening read: "How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas".


1 comment:

twp said...

Some quotes:


Journalist: M. Ben M'Hidi, don't you think it's a bit cowardly to use women's baskets and handbags to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people?

Ben M'Hidi: And doesn't it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, so that there are a thousand times more innocent victims? Of course, if we had your airplanes it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and you can have our baskets.


Ben M'Hidi: Jaffar says you weren't in favor of the strike.

Ali La Pointe: No, I wasn't.

Ben M'Hidi: Why not?

Ali La Pointe: Because we were ordered not to use arms.

Ben M'Hidi: Acts of violence don't win wars. Neither wars nor revolutions. Terrorism is useful as a start. But then, the people themselves must act. That's the rationale behind this strike: to mobilize all Algerians, to assess our strength.