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The Scroll

No. 42: The Battle of Algiers

The immoralities of occupation

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1966, dir. Gillo Pontecorvo. Making his beautiful and haunting film about the Algerian resistance to French colonial rule, Jewish-Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo—who fought the Fascists during World War II—opted for a nearly documentary aesthetic and used a cast comprised almost exclusively of non-actors. The result is a harrowing portrait of guerrilla warfare, the brutalities it inflicts on the civilian population, and the inherent immoralities of occupation. The film was banned in France upon release—and banned in Israel until recently—and was screened in the Pentagon shortly after the 2003 outbreak of the war in Iraq.

 

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No. 42: The Battle of Algiers

The immoralities of occupation

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