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The Battle of Algiers

La battaglia di Algeri

Gillo PontecorvoAlgeria / Italy123 minutes1965PGB&WItalian Arabic French English

Gillo Pontecorvo's gritty, stirring, and unabashedly anti-colonialist account of the urban war between battle-hardened French paratroopers and Algerian resistance fighters became an instant flashpoint for controversy and was banned in France until 1971.

Restored Digital Presentation!

Gillo Pontecorvo's docudrama chronicle of the Algerian National Liberation Front's (FLN) battle against the French colonial government in the 1950s became an instant flashpoint for controversy (it was banned in France until 1971) and has lost none of its cutting insight into the dynamics of imperialism and terrorism, of both state and non-state varieties. Shooting on actual locations with a largely non-professional cast (including co-producer Saadi Yacef, one of the FLN's top military leaders, who essentially plays himself), Pontecorvo creates a gritty, stirring account of the urban war between battle-hardened French paratroopers and the FLN's grimly determined guerrilla fighters — whose expansion of the conflict to the French civilian population brings a charged moral complexity to the film's unabashedly anti-colonialist viewpoint (as does the French forces' use of torture on their FLN prisoners). "One of the best movies about revolutionary and anti-colonial activism ever made[:] convincing, balanced, passionate, and compulsively watchable" (Jonathan Rosenbaum).

War + TerrorismNorth Africa + Middle EastArab ExperienceDrama