Thursday, 7 May 2015

"The Battle of Algiers," Gillo Pontecorvo, Film Review

The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo, Film Review

A series of film reviews where I give my comments on IMDB Top 250 films as a writer.  The idea is that over time these posts will build into a wide-ranging writing resource.

For more details about the approach I've taken, including some important points about its strengths and weaknesses (I make no claims about my abilities as a film critic or even the accuracy of my comments... but I do stand by the value of a writer's notes on another work of art), see my introductory post here.


Effect of location and use of untrained actors is superb.  Looks like a city holiday location but filled with soldiers.

Effectively, the director replaces the acting skill of trained actors with careful planning – lighting, takes, script.

Spectacular crowd scenes.

Lots of motion – people walking or travelling through the city.

Right-wing general who brings ruthless interrogation torture to expose the pyramid structure of the terrorists has an awful lot of resonance with today's world.

All the resistance fighters' sly tricks – passing things around from person to person, guns left for young men to pick out of wastebins and shoot policemen, sneaky hideouts behind tiled walls – all have the ring of truth about them.  It's the most seemingly truthful film I can remember seeing.

The moral ambiguities and dilemmas are carefully drawn out.
--> Use of women and children to carry bombs
--> Each of the three women bombers look around at the civilians including children that they will kill.  The politeness or flirtatiousness of men to them at the future bomb site.

The propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts, stating, X is dead, Y is captured.

The workers' strike, showing the spread of the ideas away from terrorists and into the whole population.

The awareness of the futility of the exposure of the Algerians' problems to the U.N., but they go ahead anyway.

You can win the war but lose the hearts and minds of the people you rely on to stay on-side.

Personal Score:  9/10

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