The Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Algiers is a documentary based on the Algerian War of 1954 to 1962. The film documents the proceedings of the Algerian people in their quest to gain independence from French rule. The film uses flashback memory of one of the leading members of the Front Liberation Nationals soldiers, Ali. It depicts the rebels’ cause while facing the severe French efforts in trying to quell them. A nationwide revolt unfolded while the film depicts social and political issues at the time. An ambiguous show of the efforts by the western powers into imperialism is realized as means of combating resistance by indigenous peoples. The Battle of Algiers is not only an informative and entertaining film; it raises the contemporary issue facing humanity today.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film production was the sound and music use. During the effects of the war scenes and performance by the characters, the use of indigenous forms was quite entertaining. There is an added edge to the delivery of the difference in war tactics by the Africans as compared to the French. It showed the wide gap in civilization between the two groups although the Africans had a distinct sophistication for their efficiency. The French were able to use ammunition, helicopters and several truck engines to quell the uprising. On the contrary, Africans relied on ululation, chanting, wailing and even blasts from bombs as a symbol of the indigenous methods.
Varied reactions can be drawn from the presentation of the documentary and raises concerns on the criteria used. For example, the use of terrorism and bombs associated with the indigenous fighting methods did not coincide with the civilization of the Africans at the time. In addition, the brutal force of the French army did not warrant the treatment especially due to colonization. It was forceful method of taking up the sovereignty, rule and natural resources of the Africans in order to benefit the French. The film allowed me to think of the white settlers as oppressors rather than liberators to humanity. The loss of lives, land and sovereignty of the people was not welcome.
The film relates to the themes of race, ethnic identity, injustice and violence according to the associated differences of nationalities. Violence depicted in the documentary was at an escalated level considering the number of lives lost and the damage caused from the war. The issues of race, ethnic identity and injustice were labeled against the Africans as being terrorists. The use of bombs enhanced this view. However, this should not be accepted since the Africans were in protection of their land and identity. They had to use all means necessary to dispel themselves from the rule of the colonialists. It was injustice on the part of humanity and preservation of life.
The Battle of Algiers is not only an informative and entertaining film; it raises the contemporary issue facing humanity today. The film documents the proceedings of the Algerian people in their quest to gain independence from French rule. With the use of flashback memory from one of the rebel soldiers, the film takes us through the oppression and means used by the colonialists to gain absolute rule in the land of the Africans. The documentary should be used as an informative tool on historical injustices and racial discrimination of the terrorism acts.
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