Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema Presents:
The Battle of Algiers (15)
Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo. Italy, Algeria, 1966; 121 min.
One of the most influential political films in history, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (La bataille d’Alge 1966) vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s.
As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. The story begins and ends from the perspective of Ali la Pointe (Brahim Hagiag), a petty criminal who is politically radicalized while in prison, and is then recruited to the FLN – National Liberation Front.
Shot in the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them.
Director Gillo Pontecorvo’s careful re-creation of acomplicated guerrilla struggle is seen by some to present a rather partisan issue, which got the filmbanned in France for many years.
Pontecorvo and cinematographer Marcello Gattifilmed it in black and white and experimented with various techniques to give the film the look of newsreel and documentary film.
Pontecorvo chose to cast from non-professionalAlgerians he met, picking them mainly on appearance and emotional effect (as aconsequence, many of their lines were dubbed).
The sole professional actor in the film was Jean Martin who played Col. Mathieu; Martin was a French actor who had worked primarily in theatre. Pontecorvo wanted a professional actor, but one whom audiences wouldn’t be too familiar with, which could have interfered with the film’s intended realism.
Wednesday 2nd February 2011, 19:45h.
Leytonstone Library, Church Lane, E11
Tickets £5 (£4 concessions). * Includes free glass of wine at Star of India after the screening.
Watch a clip of the film here.