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In a bid to rekindle the memories of brutal Algerian Revolution that marked the 1954 to 1962 Algeria, the Italian Gillo Pontecorvo,the director of the renowned film ‘The Battle of Algiers’, with the screen writer Franco Solinas, pioneered the production of this movie. The film depicting a vivid struggle of the Algerians against their French colonial masters was produced in 1965 but later released in 1966.
As portrayed in the movie, oppressive rule of the French lead to the birth of antagonists FLN guerrillas (Algerian National Liberation Front) whom the French dubbed as “terrorists”. This style of rule created a tight space-sensation of fear in Algeria. The key characters of the film are ironically the masterminds of the typical revolution and thus giving the drama a more documentary –like taste. In the prologue of the film, the French militants interrogate an Algerian nationalist who later spills the beans on the whereabouts of Brahim Haggiag (Ali La Tapino), the last standing guerrilla leader.
The film is characterized by a black and white and a documentary visual style. The sound and music of the film is that of the Algerian drumming especially in the scene featuring female FLN militants preparing for a reprisal bomb attack. Pontecorvo laces the film with helicopter, truck engines and gunfire sounds which depicts the approach the French gave to the battle on one hand; wailing, chanting and bomb blast to signify the Algerian approach on the other hand.
Even though other films featuring terror have been produced, The Battle of Algiers’ anatomy of terror remains unsurpassed. The attacks by the Algerian FLN may seem justified but innocent French civilians also lost families during these massacres.Therefore, terrorists must also face their own moral reckoning and face trial. Both parties breached the others’ right to life.