The Battle of Algiers

I see that this classic film has been re-released and is now showing in various places around the country. (Here is the official movie website; or go here for the trailer. This really is a “must see,” both as art and because it is timely enough that it is being shown at the Pentagon.

In an earlier post, I had this to say:

The Battle for Algiers (1965) (and here). In my darker moods, I’d say this is my favorite movie. A semi-documentary about the Algerian revolution against French rule, and the harsh but (initially) effective measures employed by the French to crush the resistance. While the director, Gillo Pontecorvo was a Marxist and sympathetic to the Algerians, he shows the cruelty of their terrorism without blinking, and he shows the hard-handed French as professional soldiers, without rancor or caricature. Unfortunately, the movie is something of a darling of leftists, who talk about how horrible it is that the captured terrorists are being tortured, while never mentioning that they and their comrades are sneaking bombs into public places to murder women and children. The one-sided critical response to this film shows the moral vacancy at the heart of western liberalism, especially of the academic/intellectual variety. Without regard to all that, this is the best movie about terrorism and guerilla warfare that I know of and truly brilliant movie, period. (Oddly, there are very few still images from the movie available on the net. There is however an excellent book, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers by Franco Solinas, which contains many stills and the full script.)

(The Solinas book is apparently out of print. Even used copies on Bookfinder are extremely expensive.)

3 thoughts on “The Battle of Algiers”

  1. I noticed that it was re-released, but it’s not playing in my area:( I might be able to find a copy in the local artsy video store, but here’s to hoping they put out a good DVD soon…

  2. There’s a great artsy-fartsy movie rental place where I live. I called them up a day or two after your initial post on the movie and asked them if they had it. Yes we do, but it’s out. I’ve called a couple of times since then and it’s been out each time. Hmmmmm. I wonder if there’s a connection………

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