The Battle of Algiers Post Screening Reaction

Published: 2021-07-30 15:50:08
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Category: Movies

Type of paper: Essay

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This paper serves as a second look at the Italian-Algerian film The Battle of Algiers following an in-class screening and subsequent comprehensive discussion on how Pontecorvo’s direction created a stunningly realistic piece.

On framing and angles, The Battle of Algiers was shot without frills or posturing. The film consists of straightforward, head-on shots and long takes. The style recalls that of that of a cameraman for news broadcast, a characteristic of the filming that contributes to the overall realism of the film.
Unconventionally, The Battle of Algiers featured actors with little or no previous acting experience, save for one. These untrained actors were convincing in their roles, creating in the audience a feeling of genuineness; the feeling they were watching real persons and not a cinematic performance.

Purposefully filmed in black and white, this convention goes to further the film’s theme of candor. The black and white of the film makes it documentary-esque, aiding to Pontecorvo;s goal to make it as real as possible. However, this convention also reflects another of Pontecorvo’s goals. The conflict between France and Algeria, and the brutalization of Algerian citizens by the French, were not widely broadcasted to those outside the conflict. Many in France did not know the extent of France’s involvement or cruelty, as seen in the fact the film was banned in France until the 1970s. The black and white implies the revelation of a truth that was previously colorized in a different light. The final product was an extremely accurate representation of a masked history.

However, the film was not strictly bare bones, and it incorporated a rich soundtrack of non-diegetic music. The soundtrack of the film serves the audience, leading the viewer to make connections and assumptions about various groups based on the sound playing over the scene. While the framing and angling are not meant to mislead or deceive, the soundtrack somewhat manipulates the opinion of the audience through their connection of the scene to the sound.

Overall, The Battle of Algiers many conventions of realism mixed with a rich and varied soundtrack make for a film that is both truth telling and enthralling.

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