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Battle of Algeria - Essay Example

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They had a strong political and cultural significance and were closest to the major historical events of the era. They challenged both the conventional production methods and consumption…
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Battle of Algeria of Institute The Battle of Algeria Some of the most interesting films to ever come into production were third cinema films. They had a strong political and cultural significance and were closest to the major historical events of the era. They challenged both the conventional production methods and consumption methods. As Getino and Solanas put it, “During that struggle, third Cinema recognized the greatest scientific, cultural, and artistic expression of our time. It also demonstrated the limitless possibility of creating enlightened personalities where each person is a starting point. That would decolonize culture.” What this means is that unlike other films, third cinema does not define geographic areas. Instead, it brings out the working practices of institutional structures, the aesthetic strategies associated with that as well as related cultural politics.
One good example of Third Cinema is The Battle of Algiers, which is a departure from the characteristic Hollywood style of drama. In its creation of a false sense of documentary, it makes use of simple tools. It has a background of the reporting styles of the 1960s. The production employs such tools as a flashback narrative structure, grainy black and white stock, handheld camera, zoom lens as well as long lenses. The film achieved both commercial success as well as an aesthetic success. Its success at the Venice Film Festival surprised many. It received a lot of praises especially in Europe and the United States. The climax of the success, it enjoyed globally was the eleven cinema awards it won between 1966 and 1967. During that time, it also got three Oscar nominations.
The Battle of Algiers was a 1965 production of Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo with cooperation from the revolutionary government of Algeria. The film goes against conventional Hollywood procedures. Shooting in a studio with the use of popular professional actors was not a consideration. Instead, it uses a real life set up with only one actor. That led to its classification as a quasi-documentary. The choice of scenes for the film serves Pontecorvo’s objective. His aim is to give it a realistic touch. The film captures Casbah, a traditionally Muslim part of Algiers, as the scenes are in its marketplaces and narrow streets. Jean Martin, the only professional actor, plays the role of Colonel Mathieu. The fact that the producer was Italian may have led to the film’s similarities to Italian Neo-realism.
Pontecorvo elects to use simple equipment so as to create a visual effect similar to that of a documentary. The shooting of The Battle of Algiers was in 16mm and then duplicated onto the negative. The result was the grainy effect common in a newsreel. That caused some overstating of contrast and as a control for this, it was necessary to use a soft focus film. The camera apertures also had to be stopped down. All this produced a rather flat image, and it was necessary to use filters due to the bright sunlight that affected the shooting. Due to the narrow streets, it was not possible to use a dolly. The camera was, therefore, handheld. In her review of the film, Lorenz states that since the production bases the film on actual people and events, it makes it a believable account of history. The application of a documentary style further strengthens this. Pontecorvo challenges the classic Hollywood cinematographic through his work in the film. His approach (dictatorship of truth) puts forward the position of newsreel camera. There is much use of a telephoto lens during the filming. Such a lens has the effect of making distances between objects or characters seem shorter. Other tools and techniques the film utilizes include the long shot as well as the long take. Relatively fast editing sequences and close-ups also help to capture certain characters and gestures. Read More
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