The Battle of Algiers (or La Battaglia di Algeri if you prefer the original French title) is a remarkable movie about the sublime horrors of war. Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, this 1965 documentary tells the story of the Battle of Algiers, which pitted a French colonial government against an emerging group of revolutionary Islamic rebels, who used terrorism and suicide attacks to gain independence, but lost this battle - as the French used torture to extract information to break up and destroy the terrorist cells. Ultimately, the country did gain independence, but only after the French broke the revolutionary movement. The movie is very realistic, though no archive war footage was used in the creation of this film. The story tries to tell an unbiased review of events that transpired during this tumultuous period for the Northern African country.
Battle of Algiers, The
Directed by - Gillo Pontecorvo
(1965) - B&W - 117 min
The film is especially timely - given the recent current events in Iraq and the world in general. The viewer is drawn into the inner worlds of the strident revolutionaries and the determined soldiers bent on spoiling their plans, in a terrible battle with no clear winners. Lots of amazing scenes, that get way too close for comfort.
Intro, B&W, title screens, credits, etc. The movie opens with a blurb saying no archive footage was used in the making of this film. The first scene has Ali hiding out just before he is blown up by the French.... but first, we flashback to how Ali's story began.
Brahim Haiggiag as Ali La Pointe, a leader of one of the terrorist cells
Another Mr. Big at the head of the terrorist hierarchy
Ali gets out of prison and his loyalty is tested... when he is asked to murder a policeman... with blanks! This is just a test after all... Ali passes the test, and joins the terrorist rebels.
A hapless informant who gives up Ali's secret hiding place
The fighting escalates... as both sides become more hardened and the brutality increases.
Battle of Algiers, The
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Ali hiding out with some fellow rebels
More mayhem and violence.... very realistic suicide bombing attacks and French reprisal for the atrocities. Tit for Tat. To save the day... the French send in war hero, Colonel Mathieu.... who helps the police force dismantle the terrorist network cell by cell, till they are able to cut off the head of the rebels. Colonel Mathieu has some great sunglasses... and has that Jean Claude Van Damme thing going on.
Jean Martin as Col. Mathieu. Love those shades!
The Colonel's plan appears to be working... but the terrorist aren't finished off quite yet. They organize a general strike to try and win the people over and impress the United Nations. Also some fascinating media events scheduled to help the French promote the war politically back home.
Yes, a beautiful young lass.... but deadly too!
The conclusion... will Ali escape? or will the French finally defeat the final terrorist cell, and end the resistance. Or will it end even if they get them? And what about the guy in the street? will they rise up? And what about the U.N. Will the feckless body of peace have anything to say? Will they send in Hans Blix? Watch the conclusion and see for yourself.
Dressed as a French gal, the terrorist slips through the checkpoint.