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Battle of Algiers, The (BFI Top 50) (=48) Battle of Algiers, The (BFI Top 50) (=48)

Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece about the turbulent last years of French colonial rule in Algeria, seen from the perspective of both the guerrilla revolutionaries and the French authorities.
Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece about the turbulent last years of French colonial rule in Algeria, seen from the perspective of both the guerrilla revolutionaries and the French authorities.
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One of cinema’s great political masterpieces, as important as Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin 40 years earlier, The Battle of Algiers charts the history of Algeria’s national liberation movement from its inception in 1954 to the country’s independence in 1962.

The film is no dry, detached documentary, however much the grainy black-and-white cinematography makes it look like a newsreel. Individual set-pieces are as gripping as any ever filmed, with Gillo Pontecorvo’s determination to give both sides a fair hearing leading to constant moral ambiguity when both sides commit tit-for-tat atrocities. Although there’s no doubt where the film itself stands (it was independent Algeria’s first production), the most richly drawn character is the French Colonel Mathieu (Jean Martin), aware that he’s on history’s losing side but still required to go through the motions.

Initially banned in France, Pontecorvo’s film has been used as a morale-booster by both the Black Panther movement and the 2010 Algerian World Cup team.

DVD Extras

  • The Making of the Battle of Algiers - an exclusive 20 min interview with director Gillo Pontecorvo
  • The Real Battle of Algiers  - An exclusive 20 min interview with producer Saadi Yacef, head of FLN guerillas in Algiers.
  • Photo galleries from the personal archives of the filmmakers.
  • Re-mastered version from restored archive elements - exclusively created by filmmaker's original lab, and includes some brief, previously lost footage.

Blu-ray Extras

As above, plus:

  • Our War for Freedom  - Interview with FLN figher Zohra Drif Bitat (portrayed in the film)
  • Exclusive presentation by director Paul Greengrass
  • Exclusive interview with director Ken Loach
  • 24-page booklet 'Italians in Algiers' by author-scholar David Forgacs, Professor at NYU, analysing the film and its remarkable genesis.

One of cinema’s great political masterpieces, as important as Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin 40 years earlier, The Battle of Algiers charts the history of Algeria’s national liberation movement from its inception in 1954 to the country’s independence in 1962.

The film is no dry, detached documentary, however much the grainy black-and-white cinematography makes it look like a newsreel. Individual set-pieces are as gripping as any ever filmed, with Gillo Pontecorvo’s determination to give both sides a fair hearing leading to constant moral ambiguity when both sides commit tit-for-tat atrocities. Although there’s no doubt where the film itself stands (it was independent Algeria’s first production), the most richly drawn character is the French Colonel Mathieu (Jean Martin), aware that he’s on history’s losing side but still required to go through the motions.

Initially banned in France, Pontecorvo’s film has been used as a morale-booster by both the Black Panther movement and the 2010 Algerian World Cup team.

DVD Extras

  • The Making of the Battle of Algiers - an exclusive 20 min interview with director Gillo Pontecorvo
  • The Real Battle of Algiers  - An exclusive 20 min interview with producer Saadi Yacef, head of FLN guerillas in Algiers.
  • Photo galleries from the personal archives of the filmmakers.
  • Re-mastered version from restored archive elements - exclusively created by filmmaker's original lab, and includes some brief, previously lost footage.

Blu-ray Extras

As above, plus:

  • Our War for Freedom  - Interview with FLN figher Zohra Drif Bitat (portrayed in the film)
  • Exclusive presentation by director Paul Greengrass
  • Exclusive interview with director Ken Loach
  • 24-page booklet 'Italians in Algiers' by author-scholar David Forgacs, Professor at NYU, analysing the film and its remarkable genesis.

Additional Info

Additional Info

SKU 5060062910117
Catalogue Number AGTD011
Subtitle a film by Gillo Pontecorvo
Product contents 1 disc
Year 1966
Format DVD, Blu-Ray
Publisher(s) Argent Films
Countries Algeria / Italy
Aspect ratio 16:9 widescreen
Colour B&W
Subtitles English (optional)
Language(s) French, Arabic (alt. soundtrack: Italian)
Running time 117 mins
DVD region All
Blu-ray region B / C
Certificate 15

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