Thursday 26 May 2016
Gillo Pontecorvo | Italy/Algeria, 1966 | 120 mins | Rated 15
Screening as part of Haringey Independent Cinema’s 10 year anniversary, The Battle of Algiers documents the struggle of Algerian freedom fighters to obtain liberation from their French occupiers during the 1950s.
Director Gillo Pontecorvo, once a leader in the underground resistance movement against Italian fascism, effectively recreates the pivotal events that took place in the city of Algiers. There, in an attempt to end French colonialism, the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) began a war for independence. In response to the escalating violence, the French government sent in paratroopers to crush the uprising with lethal force. Atrocities were committed by both sides.
Shot documentary-style, in grainy, newsreel quality, the film’s remarkable authenticity portrays an unbiased view of the conflict and is an extremely powerful, deeply moving and often shocking cinematic experience. As indicated by a Pentagon screening, the flyer for which declared, ‘How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas’, The Battle of Algiers speaks volumes in today’s global political climate characterised by uncertainty.