Saturday, October 8, 2016

'The Battle of Algiers' — It's Excellent

I took my older son with me yesterday. He loves hanging out in L.A.

Here're my earlier posts, "Going to See 'The Battle of Algiers' Today," and "At the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles: 'The Battle of Algiers' — 50TH ANNIVERSARY NEW 4K RESTORATION (VIDEO)."

I remember from years ago, although I can't remember where (probably the LGM homos), how leftists praised "Battle of Algiers" as THE cinematic exegesis of the revolutionary experience. It was the radical left's "in" movie.

And I can see why. It's practically a do-it-yourself instructional video on how to mount an insurgency against the hegemonic colonial capitalist ruling classes.

See for example the review, at A.V. Club, from 2004 (when he movie came out on DVD):
In the current political climate, between the war in Iraq and the looming election, topical documentaries and fiction features have flooded the marketplace. But none are more relevant to the times than Gillo Pontecorvo's masterpiece The Battle Of Algiers, which was made nearly four decades ago. Throughout the years, the film has been tagged as a terrorist textbook, an inspiration for the Black Panthers and other radical organizations, yet its startling verity has recently proved useful for Pentagon officials eager to understand how networks like al-Qaeda operate. Still smarting from their moral and tactical failures in colonial Algeria, the French banned the 1965 film for several years, and some countries excised scenes revealing the systemic torture of National Liberation Front (FLN) operatives. But even though The Battle Of Algiers ranks among the great works of revolutionary cinema, Pontecorvo depicts insurgent warfare with a stark, evenhanded realism that feels like history painted on the screen. In fact, many prints actually come with the disclaimer that the film doesn't include a single frame of documentary or newsreel footage. And that's not a boast: It really does seem that real.
 Plus, I missed this earlier, at the New York Times from 1967, "MOVIE REVIEW - Screen: Local Premiere of Pontecorvo's Prize-Winning 'Battle of Algiers': Gripping Re-enactment Opens Film Festival."

And here's a good piece on the conflict altogether, at the World Socialist Web, "Torture in the Algerian war (1954-62)."

More here, from an interesting blog post by a leftist academic, "What was the Algerian War/Why should you care."

Related: James D. Le Sueur, Uncivil War: Intellectuals and Identity Politics During the Decolonization of Algeria. And, General Paul Aussaresses, The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-terrorism in Algeria, 1955-1957.