Throw Away Your Telescreen!

the truth is always subversive

Voices of Resistance, in Algeria and Iraq

Posted by Dave (The Void) on October 1, 2007

La Bataille d’Algiers

In this vivid 1966 film (121 mins, in French and Arabic with English subtitles), Gillo Portecorvo puts a human face on the resistance movement that drove the French out of Algeria.

The film enjoyed a special showing at the Pentagon in Summer 2003, advertised as follows:

How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film.

… which, strangely enough, brings me to Iraq.

Hidden Facts: a message from the Iraqi Resistance

Purporting to be the work of the Resistance group 1920 Revolution Brigades, this is an insightful and compelling video (16 mins) with surprisingly high production values. I can’t guarantee it’s real, but I can guarantee it’s worth watching.

(click here to watch both parts)

Transcript in English and Arabic available here.

2 Responses to “Voices of Resistance, in Algeria and Iraq”

  1. I’d heard about “Battle of Algiers” for YEARS and finally, thanks to a little anarchist book shop that rented movies, was able to see it. I was stunned at the realism that Portecorvo was able to impart, a documentary-type feel that a film like “Syrianna” didn’t come close to. “Algiers” should be essential viewing for film students and also students of history who need to see the true face of imperialism…and those who struggle mightily to oppose it.

  2. Dave On Fire said

    Hi Cliff,

    I really liked Syriana, actually, but I agree that it’s a very different film. It looks at how individuals get caught up and exploited in tangled plots, and while it’s polemic it’s also fairly disempowering. Algiers does have more of a documentary feel, but it also shows the power of a community in motion; for all the torture and the terrorism, I think it’s a broadly positive film. Essential viewing, I concur (and I’d be interested in what the Pentagon said they would have done differently).

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