Friday, October 29, 2004


The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers
Originally uploaded by Evocation.
Pontecorvo's 116-minute movie dramatizes one of the bloodiest anti-imperialist struggles of the twentieth century - the 1954-62 rebellion against colonial rule in Algeria, one of France's oldest and largest colonies.


The significance of this film for me relates to an occasion when my parents were on the NZ Student Association in the late 1950's and requests were being received from Algerian students for students from elsewhere to protest France's routine use of torture in Algeria. In NZ some student representatives thought this was none of their concern - an ignorant and cowardly position in my view. I am comforted by the fact that my parents were appalled at what was happening to the Algerian people and wanted to express their concern and solidarity. It was their recounting of these events, lodged in my memory since my teenage years, that compelled me to see this movie. It is a deeply disturbing and affecting piece of film-making.

See also an interview with the director and his comments about parallels between the French occupation of Algeria and the American invasion of Iraq:

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