One of the most influential political films in history, “The Battle of Algiers,” by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo’s tour de force has astonishing relevance today.
Intro and discussion by Salim Ayoub, Bruce P. Robert Endowed Professor in French and Francophone Studies and director of the Centre Francophone at Webster University.