Film Methods in The Battle of Algiers

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Terrifying and placid and terrifying because of its placidity, the plot unfolds gracefully: a beautiful twenty-something Islamic woman, dressed in a Western ensemble, arrives at a chic and exclusively French café in Algiers. She walks into the café, orders a classic Coca Cola, and discreetly places her explosive-toting handbag on the ground. A few sips of the cola and the disguised Algerian woman heads out, with surveying eyes gazing about the happy French faces which will be no longer in just moments. The bomb explodes, killing several French lives, and striking a small victory in the overall battle of the FLN against France in reclaiming their own land. This scene peeks into the later victory of the anti-hero in Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of the Algiers. The film paints a largely accurate picture of popular support for the FLN. While Algeria can be seen as being depicted as a terrorist nation, employing low and grimy tactics against France, the viewer can’t help but sympathize, and even root for the underdog. The film highlights the misery within the poor peasantry of the Algerian lifestyle in their home country. We are introduced to Ali La Pointe in the opening scene, cramped in a literal hole in a wall, hiding from execution from the French government. The conditions of the home are grotesque and while you don’t know much about what is to come, you know you wish you could better the situation of La Pointe and the others (including children) in this domestic prison.

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