Related Articles: Movies, All

The Battle of Algiers

It seems a bit too convenient that the re-release of The Battle of Algiers coincides with the continuing struggles in predominantly Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. This film details an analogous situation; an uprising by an Islamic revolutionary group rebelling against the occupying French during their colonial rule of Algeria in the late 50's. Written by a real life general of the organization, the film's power lies in its realism and does not hesitate to illustrate the horrific tactics torturing prisoners, child assassins, bombing of public places employed by both sides in an effort to gain victory.

Despite a lengthy ban in France because of its negative depiction of the occupying French, the portrayal upon hindsight seems reasonably fair. Although we see the French army viciously torture its prisoners during interrogation, the Algerians are shown using civilian women to bomb non-military targets in the French sector, an act no less reprehensible.

Initially released nearly four decades ago, the grisly events of the uprising and the politically charged nature of its subject matter shocked audiences. However, despite its current political relevance, the public, conditioned by the ongoing violence in Iraq and Israel, may be impacted less by the film now than they were in the past