Movie Review – Battle of Algiers

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Long long ago not very long ago I had an alarm which used to wake me or rather tried to wake me up at six in the morning. That alarm had a war music which was so loud. All these days I considered the sound as noise. Only after watching this movie I came to know that even that’s music. Yes I had Battle of Algiers title music as my alarm tone. I started my day loathing that music but I couldn’t say that when I heard it while watching this movie.


The films posters and the first look of film looks similar to Israeli animated documentary Waltz with Bashir. Who knows Waltz with Bashir could’ve been inspired from this movie. Even the opening of Apocalypse Now looks similar to this movie.

More than calling this a war movie it could be called as an anti-war movie. It’s rightly said, “The first casualty of war is innocence.” You see neither innocence nor humanity when they try to dress up the old man to show the place where Ali hides. They get there without much sweat or that’s what we see till then.

We see a group of people – Ali and co – staring at us, the camera while sitting in their hideout. The whole film occurs in a flashback mode. Then there is rebellion, war etc. This film unlike many uses some rare guerilla techniques never seen before in cinema. We can’t help but appreciate the FLN group. To point out a few the shooting of French people by placing guns at random points and the scene where a bomb I lowered in the basket. Tension builds to a great extent in these scenes.

But the French, being honorable people they are don’t touch Algerian woman. So in spite of all the mishaps they still maintain dignity. In France I’ve heard it’s even considered a very unmannered behavior to peep into newspaper when other is reading it. He/she might give the newspaper to you and go. One hint eh? You can use it when you want free newspaper in France. Still, not a tested method. Just in case.

Other than the tension filled scene there is one scene which is a complete mockery against French people or humans in general. People who hear a bomb sound from café stop dancing for a moment come out and see what it is and continue dancing brushing that incident apart, only to be killed by another bomb placed at that café. This shows how inhuman we’ve become. If they had been outside the café for some more time or if they had gone to help those people they’d have been saved but they minding their own business leads to their fall.

But is the film all about bombings and killings. If that had been the case why would this movie still be considered a treasure? I see this film as display of human emotions through war during war period. I call this an anti-war movie because even though we love the tension which surmounts during certain scenes at the end of the movie we are fed up with these fights. We think why not the war could’ve been clogged. That’s the success of movie.

The movie’s success, this movies success depends on the impact it creates. At the end of the day it’s not the camera placements, the slick editing which engage you. It’s the heavy heart that you walk out of the theatre which will linger in your minds forever.Even if you forget the movie you can’t forget the impact of the movie.

It’s only until very late we find out the torture methods adopted by paratroopers. It’s a good move by director because if he had shown it right from the first we’d have started to sympathize with Algiers right away as for us the hunter is always a bad person and the one being hunted is always good person. We get into conclusion without knowing what led to that incident. The effect immediately changes after the torture scene which comes at the fag end. From then even some like me who didn’t support the Algiers whole heartedly from the first start to support them.

It’s obvious that Ali and his mates are going to be killed but still we hope against hope that they would survive. It doesn’t happen but that incident sows the seed for future independence of Algiers. They form a group which no one knew how it was formed and start to protest only to get independence in 1962.


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