The Battle of Algiers
May 16th, 2019

The Battle of Algiers
Thursday, May 16th, 2019 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center

1966 / 121 minutes / French/Arabic with English subtitles / Black and White
Directed by: Gillo Pontecorvo
Print supplied by: the Janus Films

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a year-long series entitled Post-Colonialisms: World Cinema and Human Consequence. We continue with Gillo Pontecorvo’s Oscar-nominated The Battle of Algiers [1966].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members

Event Sponsors:

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courtesy of Criterion:

One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo’s tour de force has astonishing relevance today.


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“It’s true I make one film every eight or nine years. I am like an impotent man, who can make love only to a woman who is completely right for him. I can only make a movie in which I am totally in love. If you had the list of films I’ve refused – The Mission, Bethune, etc., you’d have a telephone book.”

courtesy of Britannica:

An Italian filmmaker (born Nov. 19, 1919, Pisa, Italy—died Oct. 12, 2006, Rome, Italy), gained international acclaim for La battaglia di Algeri (1966; The Battle of Algiers), a stark black-and-white feature in which he portrayed the fight for Algerian independence from France with gritty documentary-style realism. The film was hailed as a cinematic masterpiece and received the Golden Lion at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, as well as three Academy Award nominations, including best director and best foreign-language film. The movie’s controversial content, however, kept it from being distributed in France until 1971. Pontecorvo’s relatively low output included La grande strada azzurra (1957; The Wide Blue Road, 2001) and the Oscar-nominated Kapò (1959). He also made several documentaries.


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Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

5/6/19 – “Based on the eponymous campaign during the Algerian war, The Battle of Algiers is perhaps best known for its technical aspects, which have been rarely, if ever imitated: the almost universal use of non-actors; the hand-held, documentary-style aesthetic, so convincing that the film ran in America with a disclaimer that “not one foot” of actual war footage was used. But none of this would be nearly as powerful without the tense directorial prowess and incredible vision of Pontecorvo, who fashioned a political portrait of urban warfare so even-handed and influential that it was an inspiration for both 60’s radical groups and Pentagon officials pre-Iraq. The Battle of Algiers is an always-relevant political film, but more than that, it is one of the great works of fiction-as-documentary.” Ryan Swen, Brooklyn Magazinelink

5/14/19 – “It’s one of the best movies about revolutionary and anticolonial activism ever made, convincing, balanced, passionate, and compulsively watchable as storytelling.” Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Readerlink

5/16/19 – “Though Pontecorvo’s sympathies ultimately lie with the Algerians, he powerfully registers the loss of innocent life on both sides, refusing to trivialize war’s casualties for the sake of a radical polemic. Truth transcends all other values in THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, and it’s a testament to Pontecorvo’s talent that the controversy that has always swirled around the film rarely has anything to do with its accuracy.” Scott Tobias, The A.V. Club – link

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