Today my political science class viewed the film The Battle of Algiers. The movie is fact based account of the Algerian War, where the National Liberation Front rebelled against French colonial rule and resulted in Algeria’s indpendance. We watched the movie because we are currently discussing terrorism and what causes people to resort to terrorism in the first place. Despite wholeheartedly siding the the FLN, it is made clear that there activities fall neatly within the confines of terrorism. Numerous bombings, murder of police officers, and various other acts pf terror are shown. That is balanced with by depicting the human rights abuses carried out by the French as well. The FLN is clearly made to be heroic, but the French are hardly villinized even after it was established they resorted to torture. So rather than reduce the Algerian to a simplistic black and white tale, The Battle of Algiers makes it clear how complex the conflict was; meanwhile it is still an easy to follow film.
Another thing that makes this film expeptional are the artistic merits. Almost no proffesional actors were cast. Instead the FLN members were all played by real life members, and many of the French soldiers were played by actual French veterans. Such an approuch gives so much authenticity, and it took advantage of an opportunity not always present. The cinematography is stunning, it was filmed on location in Algiers and the decision to film in black and white was executed beautifully.
The Battle of Algiers is a film I recommend to everyone. It is ranked fairly high in “all time greatest film” lists, so that is a concensus. It is especially relevant to modern American viewers as many see parallels between France’s struggle and America’s involvement in the Middle East. With Syria’s future in the balance watching it now is esspecially timely.