Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Brahim Haggiag
Jean Martin
Yacef Saadi
Yacef Saadi.
Directors
Gillo Pontecorvo.
Screenwriters
Gillo Pontecorvo
Franco Solinas.
Running Time
121 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Miss Julie
2 Star Empire Rating
Second Mother, The
4 Star Empire Rating
No Escape
2 Star Empire Rating
Ricki And The Flash
2 Star Empire Rating
Dope
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

The Battle Of Algiers
Passionate, political, perfect


submit to reddit


Plot
Over the course of three years, a cynical French colonel (Martin) pits his wits against the freedom fighters of Algeria's National Liberation Front.


Review
The Battle Of Algiers

Based on actual events — although not without its moments of dramatic licence — Gillo Pontecorvo's film chronicles three years of insurrection and repression with such cine-veracity that the producers felt the need to append a caption at the end of the opening titles assuring viewers that `not one foot' of documentary material had been included.
 
Released just four years after Algeria had secured its independence from France, this technical and dramatic masterclass has lost none of its power to shock and provoke. American critic Pauline Kael compared its propagandist impact with Leni Riefenstahl's The Triumph of the Will and even accused Pontecorvo of being that `most dangerous kind of Marxist, a Marxist poet'. Kael may have had a point about socialist agit-prop being afforded a cinematic and socio-political respectability that has always been denied right-wing film-making. But surely a more useful comparison could be made with Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City (1945), which was also made on location, with a largely non-professional cast in a neo-realistic style that owed more to newsreel than studio artifice.

However, Pontecorvo avoids the melodramatics of Rossellini's film by presenting the victims of both the bomb blasts and the reprisals as genuine innocents rather than the faceless casualties of a revolutionary or imperialist cause. Consequently, the lingering shots of unsuspecting individuals before the carnage are every bit as disturbing as those depicting the rebels being tortured by Jean Martin's military. Pontecorvo's sympathies may be evident, but his conviction and condemnation are not devoid of compassion.

Despite winning the Golden Lion at Venice and being nominated for three Academy Awards, The Battle of Algiers was banned in France for five years. It's this contentiousness on which its reputation still rests. But it also has a vigour, a commitment and an intelligence that is absent from too much modern cinema.


Verdict
The most important piece of political filmmaking since Battleship Potemkin.


Reviewed by David Parkinson


Related Reviews

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Battle Of Algiers
Empire Star Rating

"I fear only God."

Gripping and occasionally disturbing, The Battle of Algiers is an important, richly textured political thriller and one of the finest films, foreign or otherwise, to come out of the 1960s. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 23:32, 12 November 2013 | Report This Post


"I fear only God."

Gripping and occasionally disturbing, The Battle of Algiers is an important, richly textured political thriller and one of the finest films, foreign or otherwise, to come out of the 1960s. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 23:32, 12 November 2013 | Report This Post


intwerstingly i beleive this was shown to the American forces to illustrate how to win an insurgency battle but lose the "hearts and minds" war.... just need to switch on the news to see how that ones going ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Dead at 12:49, 14 May 2007 | Report This Post


intwerstingly i beleive this was shown to the American forces to illustrate how to win an insurgency battle but lose the "hearts and minds" war.... just need to switch on the news to see how that ones going ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Dead at 12:49, 14 May 2007 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Evil Media: Haunted TVs, Tapes And Tunes
Ten sinister reasons to go off-grid

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)