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Film Critique: Battle of Algiers

Battle of Algiers is a war film that depicts the series of events that transpired between 1954 and 1962 during the antagonism to the colonial rule of the French in Northern Africa. The film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo was released in 1966 and it focuses on the fight for independence by the Algerian natives through the National Liberation Front militia (FLN) aginst both the French colonizers and the European settlers. The narration of the film is captured from the point of view of Ali la Pointe who is a FLN recruit in custody.

The escalation of conflict and skirmishes prompt the French government to deploy paratroopers who ostensibly vanquish the native resistance. Both sides execute atrocities on their adversaries and a lot of innocent blood is shed (Slocum, 25-27). The nexus of the film is that despite the French colonizers having clenched victory of the Battle of Algiers, they categorically lost the war in Algeria. This can be exemplified by the solidarity with which Algerian civilians came forth to launch nation-wide street protests against the French government in their country (Slocum, 29).

The cinematic technique adeptly used is filming the entire film in black and white. The desired effect known as the “news reel effect” was achieved hence imparting an element of realism in the film. This made the film look like a documentary and the realness of the content to an almost believable extent was achieved (Slocum, 32). The cultural perspectives were incorporated in the film by the use of sound; indigenous drum beats and ululations when they staged their reprisal. The use of gunshots and military aircraft was also a sound effect that correctly signaled the approaching French paratroopers.

This consistent pattern assisted the viewers in knowing what to speculate at the sound of a certain sound tracks in the film. The camera movement captured the fine details intended as by the director in a manner the whole set was virtually the embodiment of reality. However, there was an element of incongruence since most of the cast exuded lack of experience when examined critically; some body movements, gestures and facial expressions were less spontaneous apart from Col. Mathieu (Jean Martin) in the film (Pontecorvo, 1). The methods employed by the FLN were categorically guerilla tactics to resist the French colonial rule.

They also included terrorist acts to intimidate the European settlers on their land. Traitors of the FLN were subjected to summary execution. The counter insurgency techniques that were employed included abduction of the FLN leaders as well as their execution. Deployment of French paratroopers was an integral part of this counterinsurgency measure that was coupled by indiscriminate violence that was inherently racist as well as lynch mobs targeting Algerian natives (Slocum, 35-36). . Works Cited Pontecorvo, Gillo. Battle of Algiers(Movie). 1966 Slocum, J. David, Terrorism, Media, Liberation. Rutgers University Press, 2005, p. 25-36

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