The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo

1966, Italy, 123 minutes, DCP

Language: French & Arabic

Presented by: Todd Shepard

Cast: Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi

Distributor: Rizzoli, Rialto Pictures

Program Notes

1968 on Film

In conjunction with John’s Hopkins University, The SNF Parkway Theater is proud to present the 1968 on Film Series. This series presents some landmark films from 1968, in company with a few that paved the way and others that look back with admiration, nostalgia, and regret for what we gained and what we lost in that transformative year.

Hosted by Todd Shepard, Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University.

A history of the three-year Battle of Algiers, chronicling the escalating terrorism and violence between French military forces and the Algerian independence movement, based on the memoirs of Saadi Yacef, a leader of the National Liberation Front.

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.

“MASTERPIECE! Surely the most harrowing and
realistic political epic ever!”

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