Essay On Intimate Enemies

Decent Essays
“Intimate Enemies,” (L’Ennemi intime), a French war film based on the Algerian war, presents a convincing portrayal of the psychological trauma of French soldiers fighting against Algerian insurgents. This movie reminded me of the barbarity of war and its detrimental effects on the people involved.
The movie takes place in the remote and mountainous regions of Algeria in 1959 where the French army is fighting with the Fellagha (Algerian insurgents). The soldiers there are joined by Lieutenant Terrien who is a new, naïve and idealistic officer. Terrien quickly faces events that challenge his moral beliefs such as village massacres, prisoner tortures and shooting of civilians. Initially he resists the savagery of the other soldiers and officers
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Terrien states that “if an order is morally unacceptable, then you should refuse it sir.” The captain counters that the FLN uses vile methods too, similar to how people were treated in Vietnam. He contends that the warfare in Vietnam and Algeria was less military but more psychological. Interestingly, Terrien responds by questioning the nature of Algeria with regards to France. If Algeria is France, then why are Algerians not treated equally as French citizens? The captain replies, “You’ll come around, just like we all did.” The nature and system of the conflict was the issue, not the actual atrocities committed by both sides. Those wrongful attacks or methods were results of the main political differences of the French and Algerians. For me, I wonder if France truly tried to assimilate Algeria and give Algerians the same citizenship and rights as Frenchmen, would the FLN be this violent and adamant about independence? It was clear in this movie (and in Battle of Algiers) that the FLN initially was a minority in Algeria but due to French counterinsurgency, the majority decided to pick the lesser of two
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