Typically, movies act as a channel through which crucial information affecting the society can be conveyed from one person to another. However, most people tend to ignore critical themes and characterization portrayed in movies, and this ensures that they don't entirely get the concept and the perception depicted by the actors. Films can ensure that the audience is entertained and highlighted on different phenomena's within their immediate environment that might be beneficial or destructive to their daily lives. Therefore, analyzing the history of the movie called the Battle of the Algiers, the causes of the war, the films cast and the role women depicted by the film ensures that we understand the crucial role that movies play in presenting sensitive themes and educating an audience about their immediate surroundings and the society.
The movie "battle of the Algiers" history plays a crucial role in understanding most of the themes highlighted. The battle of Algiers is a film about the war that took place in Algeria between the rebel groups and the French army. The film was produced in 1966. The film is cast on the event that took place between the year 1954 and 1957 (Pontecorvo et al., 1966). It was shot in Algiers the capital city of Algiers, a country in North Africa. The French army intended to capture back the Casbah, a fort in Algiers since it was vital to them being a link between its other operation in the country (Pontecorvo et al., 1966). The directors of the film, "The battle of Algiers," were Pontecorvo and Solinas who resorted for a black and white theme to give the movie a touch old feeling and to show the actions of guerrilla warfare.In addition to that, the cause of the war in Algeria also plays a crucial role in understanding the themes depicted in the movie. According to Pontecorvo, "the Algerians were fighting for their independence between 1954 and 1957 through the influence of militants groups" (Pontecorvo et al., 1966). From the film, the French army won the battle. However, a school of thought insists that it was the militants who won because they had a fair share on their similar attacks on the Europeans in Algeria. The two antagonistic group both committed crimes of grave humanity particularly to the civilians through torture and inhumane execution (Pontecorvo et al., 1966). The producers of the film being gender sensitive on the role of the cast and the recent happenings of terrorism involving most women whose purpose was to act as bombers by detonating them on innocent civilians. Pontecorvo intentions were not only to relate past crimes and recent crimes, but he also maintained a neutral ground on both Aspects. Additionally, An essential character in the film is Brahim Haggin who critically redefines his role by being an intelligent figure because he understood the streets of Algiers.
Furthermore, the cast of the film also plays an essential role in developing most of the themes highlighted by the movie. Initially, Solinas was approached by Slash Brazilian who had a rough idea of the storyline of the film. His project was rejected because it brought a feeling of unfairness to the Algerians (Pontecorvo et al., 1966). Slash got inspiration from a book written by Saadi Yacef which talked about the perennial between the North African country and the French army. Eventually, Solinas was convinced but with conditions. Some of Slash ideas were to be recreated but in line with the initial plan. He was also to maintain the neutrality in the film to accommodate both parties.
The two producers came up with an idea to work majorly with less professional actors from Algeria to bring the real picture of the actual events in Casbah. It was also to curb the idea of unnecessary interference with the content of the film. The only professional actor in the movie," The battle of Algiers," was Martin who was a veteran actor. Martin was well conversant with army antics because initially, he fought in the army of France. He was the principal character and played the role of Colonel Mathieu who the army commander of the French in the war between the Algerian militant and French government. The film gives Colonel Mathieu a function of greater expectation being the only exotic actor in the movie; he had to blend well with the other indigenous actors without any conflict of interest because the film was very emotive in bringing out the intention of the two countries.
The role of women depicted in the movie is also crucial towards understanding its central theme. As mention earlier, women were also involved in the fight for the independence of Algeria. Pontecorvo through the music, sound, and effect fused the screams and chanting of women ready to go for war to bring the feeling of enthusiastic militants (Pontecorvo et al., 1966). From afar sounds of fading old drums feels the air. On the other hand, the sound of missiles and movement of heavy machines depicted the readiness of the French army to go for war. This idea of the sound system was to bring originality of both countries to bring out the intended neutrality. Pontecorvo and Solinas idea is worldly accepted in the film industry as it balanced the important critical issues in the production of the movies.
After the release of the film, it received several accolades and awards, both locally and internationally and was recognized by significant houses of production Europe. However, not all was rosy because several critics came up especially from France. Several articles were written discrediting the production of the film. The film board of France argued that the film was biased and depicted France as a country not to value humanity through the ruthless murder of innocent civilians in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria. The political class was not left behind especially to those who wanted to gain political mileage in their relevance and used the film as a scapegoat. These lead to the film banned for five years after which the uplifting of the ban after several attempts from the leading productions houses and the famous theatre houses.
Analyzing the history of the movie called the Battle of the Algiers, the causes of the war, the films cast and the role women depicted by the film ensures that we understand the crucial role that movies play in presenting sensitive themes and educating an audience about their immediate surroundings and the society. The film content has now been accepted and was even used in Argentina by the military as a course for their preparation for an uprising by the civilians. The film board of the United state of America through the defense ministry allowed the screening of the film to show the tribulation of their soldiers in the fight of terrorism in Iraq. It was vital to encourage them to continue fighting more for their liberation. The film, "The Battle of Algiers," evidently meets the demand of both the Algerian citizens and those of France by doing away with bias content and maintaining neutrality to allow its world acceptance.
Pontecorvo, G., Haggiag, B., Martin, J., Saadi, Y., & Solinas, F. (1966). The battle of Algiers. Criterion collection.
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