08 July 2010
La Battaglia di Algeri (1966)
We are soldiers and our only duty is to win.
So basically: Shot in a documentary style, director Gillo Pontecorvo takes the audience into 1950's Algiers, where the National Liberation Front is fighting for Algerian independence and the French colonists are trying to maintain order. The story follows young Ali La Pointe as he reaches the top of the NLF. As Algerian nationalism grows, Colonel Mathieu is sent in to break up the rebel gang and return Algeria to a state of colonialism.
Very gripping picture. Gillo Pontecorvo captures the streets of Algiers magnificently with his documentary style. I especially liked the way that no one is made out to be the villain, as it would have been so easy to make Colonel Mathieu seen as a bad guy. He's not the most likeable character, and I definitely felt more for the NLF members, but he's not villainous, either - even with his "methods of interrogation."
Defs deserves the "prestige" of the list as it captures the audience's attention and shows them a very important film - a film not just about Algerian independence, but of independence in general.
Ziggi seal of approval!