Friday, May 15, 2015

#559: The Battle of Algiers

1966, TSPDT Rank #60

As a portrayal of an oppressed people's revolution against colonial powers, this film provides an interesting contrast to The Hour of the Furnaces. Made by an Italian director, with a primarily Italian crew, and filmed in a very European style, this is clearly a dramatization of a revolution - as opposed to the revolutionary document that practioners of Third Cinema strived for. Also, it focuses primarily on the military tactics employed by both sides in the Algerian revolution rather than on the political motivations behind the revolution itself. The film's attempt at presenting both sides of the revolution objectively has been widely noted - as both a strength and a weakness - although there is still a noticeably anti-colonialist slant on display. Despite the full participation and backing of Algeria in its production, it's still far from being a true example of Third Cinema - but nevertheless, it does an admirable job at turning the events of a revolution into a taut, compelling action thriller, which succeeds overall despite the pretense of suggesting greater authenticity than it possesses.

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