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Analysis of the Battle of Algiers
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The Battle of Algiers: Terrorism, torture & ethics
The Battle of Algiers, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, produced in 1966 depicts the 1950's Algerian war of independence with chilling authenticity. Cast almost entirely with nonprofessional actors, and filmed in documentary neorealist style in the serpentine alleys, stairways and archways of Algiers's Muslim Kasbah. Pontecorvo used newsreel film stock, telephoto close-ups, and a percussive, hard-driving musical score to create a swiftly moving political thriller (Hornaday, 2004). It is an anatomy of terror and counter terror that remains unsurpassed (Rainer, 2004). The film does not romanticize terrorists, demonize the French, or valorize violence in the name of some sort of people's revolution; instead the director goes at once deeper and higher, examining each side's motives and contradictions (Hornaday, 2004). Bombs and bullets do not choose their targets, individuals do, both sides do savage things and both can supply rational arguments to prove that they are on the side of morality. The film is poignant because it shows a level of bitter reality (Ebert, 2005) there are no heroes, only perpetrators and innocent victims. Children shoot French officials at point blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Men fire automatic weapons indiscriminately
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