87 / 365 – ‘The Battle of Algiers’ (1966) – 121 mins
IMDb Challenge #51 / 250 – Ranked #202 – Via DVD Collection
In 1954 Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag) is a petty thief from the Casbah, the poorest Arab quarter of Algiers. Enraged at the French treatment of his countrymen he joins the FLN (National Liberation Front) and, after his trustworthiness has been tested, soon finds himself engaged in a guerilla campaign, becoming one of the four leaders of the movement. Leader of the French forces is Colonel Mathieu (Jean Martin) a rational and intelligent man who resorts to ruthless tactics, including torture, in order to crush the revolt.
It’s strange to think that a film made nearly 50 years ago is as pertinent today as it was then, change a few names and locations and it echos all we hear about terrorism every time we tune into the headlines of todays news. Stylistically shot in black and white it fuses the documentary style technique (even though this no documentary) to recreate these real events of the freedom fighters of Algeria’s National Liberation Front seeking to gain independence from its 130 year French colonial rule.
The Battle of Algiers encompasses many a powerful scene, but the most harrowing is the moment a trio of muslim women are changing their appearance into that of a western look in preparation for smuggling bombs through checkpoints stationed across the city, en-route to their targets of heavily populated bars and cafes.
On this first time viewing evidence – ‘The Battle of Algiers’ is intelligent, informative and compelling from start to finish where it thought-provoking allows you to draw your own conclusions on a piece of history. Pick of the week.
88 / 365 – ‘The 400 Blows’ (1959) – 99 mins
IMDb Challenge #52 / 250 – Ranked #197 – Via DVD Collection
14-year-old Antoine Doinel skips school, sneaks into movies, runs away from home, steals things, and tries (disastrously) to return them. Like most kids, he gets into more trouble for things he thinks are right than for his actual trespasses. Unlike most kids, he gets whacked with the big stick. He inhabits a Paris of dingy flats, seedy arcades, abandoned factories, and workaday streets, a city that seems big and full of possibilities only to a child’s eye.