Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers

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Since its release in 1966, Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers has divided critical opinion. The film which depicts the Algerian struggle for independence, was awarded the Lion d'Or at the 1966 Venice Film Festival and nominated a year later for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film. Despite this acclaim, the inherently controversial film was banned in France until 1971 due to its graphic portrayal of torture and repression during the war. Heavily influenced by the distinctive film style Neorealism, the politically engaged director sought to make a film which was produced and shot within a 'dictatorship of truth.' These neorealist aesthetics (hand-held camera, non professional actors) rendered such an extraordinarily accurate reflection of …show more content…
This close-up thus creates a collective protagonist which in turn becomes an embodiment of the Algerian people. In contrast, the two French paratroopers on the other side of the wall, are shot in side profile through a long lens with their backs turned to the audience, whilst the machine gun which holds connotations of the violence and brutality employed by the French army is incorporated into the left hand side of the wide frame. The simplification of Algeria against France is further signified through the interplay of dark and light elements. Whilst Pontecorvo employs a chiaroscuro image of Ali La Pointe's hideout in order to highlight the faces of the FLN members against the dark background, the visual expressions of the French soldiers are obscured by shadows. The spectatorship is consequently denied the same intimacy that they are permitted to experience with Ali La Pointe and his collaborators. Through a variety of camera angles shot in monochrome and the iconic image of the gun this opening sequence establishes Pontecorvo's political stance and his natural empathy with the Independent movement.

Music - Complex interrelationships between sound and image.
Similarly, the juxtaposition of sound and silence, in contrast to the frenzied arrival to Ali La Pointe's hideout, the French paratroopers probe the tiled wall in…