The Battle of Algiers, a Film Within History
The feature film The Battle of Algiers (1967) tells the heroic story of the National Liberation Front (FLN), the urban guerrilla group that fought a successful war for Algerian independence from France. The screenplay is based on the experiences of FLN leader Yacef Saadi, who plays himself in the film. For many Algerians, the film is iconic and emotionally charged. In France, however, it was banned for many years, and the award of a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival drew a furious response from the French delegation. In this fascinating analysis, we learn about the influence of the film and how its production became entangled in the violent events of the time: were those tanks part of the set, or was this the coup that was underway? The film also proved to be a source of inspiration for revolutionaries, as both the Black Panthers and the pro-Palestine movement were fans. The guerrilla methods of the Algerian revolutionaries have also attracted interest from the other end of the spectrum: the Pentagon.
Gérald Collas for INA, Villi Hermann for Imago Film