Friday 8 June 2007

The Battle Of Algiers @ The IFI from June 16th



Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle Of Algiers... Perhaps the celluloid definition of native resistance to a colonial occupier... Pontecorvo's is an intense and immaculate filmic scrutiny of the decline of French imperialism in Algeria. It is a film so visceral in emotional impact, so raw and unbridled that in the four decades since its release it has often been mistaken for a documentary. Yet the film's continuing relevance is not simply a result of its political and societal concerns. Its continuing relevance is not because of its self-evident parallels with the political landscape of today. This film is beyond polemical manipulation. It is cinematic truism, Pontecorvo's direction heavily indebted to the verité aesthetics of Godard et al. As Donald Clarke states in The Ticket today:
"The Battle of Algiers is remarkable more for the brilliance of its filmmaking than its accidental presience."
Whilst studying film in university, and although never once a syllabus requirement, I watched this film at least five or six times... On a battered and dusty VHS tape, on a miniscule and grainy monitor in the college library. From June 16th a newly restored print of The Battle of Algiers will be showing at the Irish Film Institute. I implore you to see it if you can. Please.

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