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The Battle of Algiers (Criterion Collection) back to product details

A perfect film
written by SBarnett May 3, 2006 - 8:35 AM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
I watched this film three times, trying as hard as I could to find a single flaw, a moment that wasn't quite right--the look on someone's face, a snatch of music, a camera angle, a character's movement, a view of a street or room. There's nothing. Every second of the film, from the truly unforgettable opening image of the traitor's face to the final image of women dancing in front of tanks in the street, is perfect, under control yet spontaneous, full of life and dignity and meaning, beautifully acted and staged and photographed. This is a film of faces--individual faces, in crowd scenes and private moments, the very young and the very old, Algerian, French, and the complex spectrum in between. There is violence and brutality that will churn your stomach, without gallons of blood spurting all over the floor. Yes, it's propaganda, as it advocates a particular point of view. Yes, it's biased, as the point of view is that the Algerian revolution must succeed. Yes, it's manipulative, as it forces us to understand many things, from the terrifying logic of bombing civilians to the divine love of a mother for her child, from a soldier's grim duty to a revolutionary's pure passion. Seen purely as a film, this has equals, but no superiors. Seen as a lesson in politics, it retains its relevance. Algeria is not Iraq: French colonialism is not U.S. imperialism. But the doomed effort of the West to impose its will on non-Western people, and the determined use of Islam as a weapon against it, are displayed in this film with a passion and clarity that is absent from our "fair and balanced" TV news.


(Average 8.44)
290 Votes
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