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The Battle Of Algiers (Special Edition) [DVD] 
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Digitally RE-MASTERED IN HIGH DEFINITION from restored archive elements approved by the filmmakers, this all-time classic release of `The Battle Of Algiers` also commemorates the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence. This new HD version includes some previously unseen footage, making this the most complete edition ever anywhere. THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS tells the story of the life-and-death struggle between the French colonial government of Algeria and the Algerian Liberation Front, the FLN, who wanted the French out and were willing to set off bombs to do it. The French sent in their elite Paratroopers with the order to use Any Means to break the insurgent torture included. It s a true story, done on location with many of the FLN appearing in it, including the producer who was an FLN leader. This film is a passionate yet completely impartial record of struggle which led to Algeria s Independence. SPECIAL FEATURES - EXCLUSIVE PRESENTATION & INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR KEN LOACH - EXCLUSIVE PRESENTATION BY DIRECTOR PAUL GREENGRASS(Bourne films) `BOA IS THE FILM THAT S INFLUENCED ME MORE THAN ANY OTHER..` P Greengrass - THE MAKING OF THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS An exclusive interview with Director Gillo Pontecorvo - THE REAL BATTLE OF ALGIERS Interview with Producer & protagonist SAADI YACEF, head of FLN guerrillas - OUR WAR FOR FREEDOM Interview with FLN fighter ZOHRA DRIF BITAT (the Milk Bar bomber portrayed in the film) - PHOTO GALLERIES From filmmaker`s personal archives - FILM TRAILERS Theatrical and Argent Trailer - ALSO INCLUDED A SPECIAL BOOKLET `ITALIANS IN ALGIERS` An essay by author-scholar David Forgacs, Professor at NYU, on the remarkable genesis of the film and how it was shaped by both the award winning Italian filmmakers and its ex-guerrilla Algerian producer, whose memoir the film is based on.
Director Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 movie The Battle of Algiers concerns the violent struggle in the late 1950s for Algerian independence from France, where the film was banned on its release for fear of creating civil disturbances. Certainly, the heady, insurrectionary mood of the film, enhanced by a relentlessly pulsating Ennio Morricone soundtrack, makes for an emotionally high temperature throughout. With the advent of the "war against terror" in recent years, the film's relevance has only intensified.
Shot in a gripping, quasi-documentary style, The Battle of Algiers uses a cast of untrained actors coupled with a stern voiceover. Initially, the film focuses on the conversion of young hoodlum Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag) to FLN (the Algerian Liberation Front.) However, as a sequence of outrages and violent counter-terrorist measures ensue, it becomes clear that, as in Eisenstein's October, it is the Revolution itself that is the true star of the film.
Pontecorvo balances cinematic tension with grimly acute political insight. He also manages an even-handedness in depicting the adversaries. He doesn't flinch from demonstrating the civilian consequences of the FLN's bombings, while Colonel Mathieu, the French office brought in to quell the nationalists, is played by Jean Martin as determined, shrewd and, in his own way, honourable man. However, the closing scenes of the movie--a welter of smoke, teeming street demonstrations and the pealing white noise of ululations--leaves the viewer both intellectually and emotionally convinced of the rightfulness of the liberation struggle. This is surely among a fistful of the finest movies ever made. --David Stubbs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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The 1950's, and European empires are in decay. The French have lost Indochina ... the USA filling the vacuum in Viet Nam, seemingly oblivious to the defeat the elite of the French army suffered at Dien Bien Phu. In Algeria, there is pressure for the creation of a muslim fundamentalist state and independence from the colonial ruler. The French Right, meanwhile, is backing the many French settlers who have a vested interest in staying. The scene is primed for a civil war of the bloodiest character.
"The Battle of Algiers" opens with a scene of torture ... or shall we say, interrogation. A skeletal Arab has been coerced into giving information. He is dressed in French uniform (black man, white uniform, echoing Fanon) ... ensuring the French don't actually have to kill him themselves ... and paraded around while French troops raid Arab tenement blocks. Within, some of the leaders of the resistance are hiding. And so we drift into flashback mode - how did the protagonists come to be where they are? What is the back story?
You're already fascinated. This is a piece of historical analysis. This is a documentary turned into fiction, and a piece of fiction turned into documentary. The director, Pontecorvo, uses non-professional actors, hand held cameras and diffused lighting to enhance this impression of watching live newsreel footage from the heart of the war zone. The film is about Algiers, but it can symbolise any conflict between a colonial power and the colonised.
The struggle boils down to a battle between the terrorism of the rebels and the terror tactics of the French paratroops. We watch bombs being planted in crowded cafés; it is chillingly real. We watch the cat and mouse games of activists being pursued through the narrow streets of the Kasbah. We watch the impact this has on the bystanders - they are polarised to join one side or the other. One of the leaders of the insurrection comments that terrorism is only a first step - they have to mobilise the people to take action, to strike, to attack the economic base of the colonialists. Already, the resistance is not confined to a few fanatics - men, women and children are actively involved, and their ranks are swelling.
It is superbly paced, beautifully scripted, and astonishingly choreographed - the complexity of the crowd scenes, the rooftop coverage of a living city, the ordinariness of the faces, all combine to create a sense of realism. You feel as if you are there, as if the action is taking place today.
And you wonder why so many invaders have failed to understand what motivates people when they perceive their country as being invaded and their culture as being abused. The French paratroops extol the virtues of the French Resistance fighting the German occupation ... but cannot understand that the Arabs might see themselves as a legitimate resistance movement, not simply 'terrorists'. The paras, themselves, seem to have already forgotten what happened to them at Dien Bien Phu.
"The Battle of Algiers" presents a lesson in history. It also presents a lesson in film-making, for this is cinematography of the very highest quality. A film with no stars, without a glamorous subject, and seemingly dated in its subject matter, yet this is a film which will surprise you by its ability to grip and hold your attention. Beyond a doubt, one of the finest films I have ever seen.
There is so much to admire here, especially a cast heavy with untrained actors, but if special praise were to be granted for any aspect of the film, the crowd scenes are phenomenal - it is not hard to see how Day of the Locust and others can count upon this film as a massive influence. It's also worth watching the Battle of Algiers as a companion piece to Day of the Jackal, evidence aplenty of the rift in French society caused by the Algerian war.
If you have not seen this spellbinding movie, I urge you to watch it. if you were going to watch any film about war, this should be the one.
The best is the Criterion version issued Stateside in 2011 - but like so many of their titles - it's unfortunately REGION-A LOCKED and therefore will not play on UK machines (unless they chipped to be multi-region - which very few are).
The alternative is the Cinema Classics issue that IS PLAYABLE on UK machines.
Make sure you chose the CC issue when you buy...
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