A phenomenal film about the struggle for independence in Algeria
May 9, 2009
The Battle of Algeria is a great film documenting the story of the struggle of freedom fighters who jump started the road to independence for the native people of Algeria. For years, Algerians were denied their own self identity under French colonial rule. The people were impoverished and lacked self confidence. A group of underground rebels wanted to change all that so they waged a guerrilla war against the French occupiers. Although the rebels were eventually crushed and wiped out, the people never forgot their bravery. A few years later, the French eventually left Algeria for good.
The movie is not about the success of the freedom fighters. Sure they were crushed but their spirit live on. The oppressed natives rose and drove the French out. Many directors have copied from this film either style wise or certain scenes (check out the eighties flick RED DAWN, the later half of that movie was lifted from BATTLE OF ALGERIA.) The director shot this movie as a docu-drama. You'll feel for the street thug turned freedom fighter. At first glance he seems like a ordinary punk trying to save his own skin. But you get to see his transformation on screen. You'll also feel for the French general, he sympathizes with the enemy because he too was partisan during W.W.II (a theme also found in RED DAWN).
The politics of this movie are pretty much left of center. People have criticized this film for glorifying a group a radical extremist Muslims who turned their country into a back word country. But you must realize the director is more concerned about the idea of freedom and self identity. Repression is no fun. People should not be colonized by those who perceive themselves to be "saviors" or enlighten persons of the cloth. There was no reason why France held on to Algeria for so long. First Viet-Nam then Algeria. The empire of Napoleon III was slowly eroding away.
If you love films by Costa-Gavras, Oliver Stone or Peter Watkins then you'll want to do yourself a favor and watch this brilliant movie. You wont regret it!
Pros: Presentation, pacing, a narrative that can be timeless Cons: Nothing comes to mind The Bottom Line: The film is about an occupying force and the problems it causes. Watching it now is topical, but the film stands alone without the war in Iraq. Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers is something rare. The … more
The movie is based upon Algeria's struggle for independence from France.
Gillo Pontecorvo's presents a harrowing, documentary-style depiction of the Algerian's people's struggle to liberate themselves from France between 1954 and 1962. The film creates a stunning illusion of realism by combining actual newsreel footage with staged sequences featuring amateur and professional actors playing characters based on real people (including Saadi Yacef, the one-time leader of the FLN in occupied Algiers). With it's depiction of political torture and violence retaining every bit of the impact they had upon the film's original release, THE BATTLE FOR ALGIERS was re-released theatrically in 2003 to great acclaim and reevaluation. Winner of 11 International Film awards.