The film scooped the “Best Film” award at the Venice Film Festival of 1966. This film is one of the highly political films in the world’s history. It revolves around the struggle for independence in the…
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Much of the cast consists of Algerians. The film is available in three versions of different lengths: 120, 125 and 135 minutes respectively. This paper attempts to interpret the films political connotation in light of historical developments since the colonial period.
Much of the film is a flashback of Ali, the Algerian Front de Liberation (FLN) leader. The flashback begins when the French generals corner him in 1957. Some three years before the French hunt him down, Ali was a mere thief who made the decision to be part of the secretive organization (FLN) with the hope that he could rescue Casbah from the atrocities of the colonial government. Pontecorvo goes to the roots of the liberation struggle and unearths the stringent measures that the French government resorted to in a bid to calm the situation before it reached a national scale. When Ali’s flashback is done with, the French murder generals him alongside other notorious FLN leaders. Thereafter, the film resumes a more general focus that eventually culminates in the independence declaration for the African nation in 1962.
Imperialism has been a strange issue to most filmmakers. In fact, Pontecorvo did a great job to highlight some of the thorny questions surrounding Western colonialism in the Battle of Algiers. He paints out the picture of imperialism even as the West is fighting hard to eradicate terrorism and rebel tactics of indigenous people. Pontecorvo drives home the point that even though the French torturous operations earned them defeat against the Algerian rebels during the war, the rebels finally had the last laugh as the French could not hold on to the colony for long. This contrast raises the debate as to whether the use of violent means is effective enough to deal with acts of terrorism currently growing worldwide.
The film should not be underrated because of its underlying implications. The United States is particularly on the limelight owing
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