Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Battle of Algiers 1966

This is about the liberation of Algeria from French colonial rule of 130 years. Independence finally happened in 1962. The film is made in documentary style and gives a vivid, realistic, blood soaked panoramic view of this social movement of the late fifties. The conflict is minutely etched by placing a couple of well fleshed characters under the lens. We see the rising tidal wave of a poorly armed population against the relative might of the French. It is considered a classic on urban guerrilla war. The movement starts out in a small way, a hand full of determined individuals, gathering momentum as a large populace is embraced in its unstoppable flow. The urban landscape is eloquently captured, the marketplaces, the crowds, calm or surging. A very authentic film about history in the process of making.

2 comments:

kaist455 said...

It was so vivid and authentic that I found myself mistaking it for a documentary for a while. Roger Ebert chose it as the best film of 1968, though he was amused that he somehow placed it right above "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) in his Top 10 list of that year.

S. M. Rana said...

Yes, hard to believe it is not a documentary. It has pointed me to two of Rossellini's early films: Rome, Open City and Paisa. I wonder if you saw the gut wrenching Germany, Year Zero.