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
Subscribe To Empire!
Save up to 69%
Empire
Film Studies 101
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
We Are Many
4 Star Empire Rating
A Fuller Life
3 Star Empire Rating
Futuro Beach
4 Star Empire Rating
Tokyo Tribe
2 Star Empire Rating
Honeytrap
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
Long Good Friday, The
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
Updated! Stan Lee’s Marvel-lous Cameos – Now With Even More Cameos
From Daredevil to... Daredevil?

11 Of The Silliest Sesame Street Film Parodies
From Aveggies: Age Of Ultron to Big Birdman (and back again)

Astonishing Movie Star Music Video Cameos
Hiccup, Rhodey and Spidey join the party

Podcast #158: Paul Bettany, Charlie Cox
The Vision vs. Daredevil

Daredevil Season 1 Spoiler Podcast - Featuring Charlie Cox
The team discuss and dissect the Marvel / Netflix show

Richard Armitage Bids Farewell To The Hobbit
On goat-riding, keepsakes and saying goodbye to Thorin

Empire's Jurassic World Covers Unveiled
You're going to hear her roar

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Subscribe now and save up to 70%

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire Digital Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
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)