La Battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers)
Category: Movie Reviews
The Battle of Algiers is a 120-minute war movie with the Italian titled, La battaglia di Algeri, released on the 8th of September 1966 in Algeria. The story of this war movie is derived from the occurrences of the Algerian War during the period from 1954 to 1962 against the government of France in North Africa, the most famous being the supposed Battle of Algiers. The movie is an Italian-Algerian creation, and it was directed by an Italian moviemaker Gillo Pontecorvo, and filmed on location. The movie, which was filmed in a Rosselini-enthused newsreel fashion, in black and white with the documentary-type of editing, is often linked with neo-realism movies of Italy.
The movie has been significantly celebrated and habitually taken by rebel groups and states equally, as a significant commentary on the urban guerrilla war. It holds the 48th position on the Critics' Leading 250 Movies of the poll of the 2012 Sight & Sound, and 120th position on the list of the 500 all time best movies of the Empire magazine.
Theme of the movie
The Battle of Algiers movie reconstructs the incidents that happened during the Algerian War of Independence from November 1954 to December 1957 in French Algeria, the capital city. The story of the movie starts with the group of activist cells in the Islamic city, Casbah. Then partisan combat between Pied-Noir and Muslims in which both sides swap acts of increasing aggression shows the way to the beginning of French military paratroopers to pursue the National Liberation Front. The military paratroopers are portrayed as winning the fight by deactivating the total of the FLN control through either capture or assassination. However, the movie ends with an addendum, portraying nationalist demonstrations and disturbances, recommending that even though France succeeded the Battle of Algiers, it was gone astray during the Algerian War.
The Battle of Algiers movie was considered a topic of social-political disagreement, so it was not shown for five years in France, where it was afterward released during 1971.
Visual style of the movie
For the movie, The Battle of Algiers, Marcello Gatti, the Pontecorvo and cinematographer filmed the movie in black and white and tested with various methods to provide the movie with the look of documentary and newsreel movie. The visual effect of the movie was sufficiently convincing that the releases of the movie in America carried a proviso that "not one foot" of the newsreel was employed.
The use of Pontecorvo imaginary realism allows the film to operate along a dual-bind as it consciously deals with dissimilar audiences. The movie makes special exercise of TV with the intention of linking western spectators with the images they are continually faced with and always portraying the truth. The movie seems to be produced through a western reporter’s point of view, as the handheld cameras and telephoto lenses are employed, whilst portraying the fight from a protected distance with French warriors, positioned between the masses and camera.
Nominations and awards
The Battle of Algiers movie won 1972 BAFTA awards for the Best Movie category.
The movie won the 1967 Golden Goblets, Italy award for the Best Director category.
It won the 1967 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists award for the Best Director, Best Producer and Best Cinematography categories.
The Battle of Algiers movie was nominated for the 1969 Academy Awards Best Director, Best Story and Screenplay categories.