Past Event

Film Screening: The Battle of Algiers: A Film Within History

October 25, 2018
6:30 PM - 8:45 PM
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Buell Hall, 515 W. 116 St., New York, NY 10027 East Gallery
Malek Bensmail, 2017, 117 min. With excep­tio­nal archival mate­rials and many inter­views (Alge­ria, France, Italy, United-States) Malek Bensmaïl’s docu­men­tary about Gillo Pontecorvo’s legendary 1965 film, The Battle of Algiers, will give us, sixty years after, a strong look back at this film half­way between history and legend. In 1965, three years after Alge­ria gained its inde­pen­dence, Italian film-maker Gillo Ponte­corvo began to shoot a film recons­ti­tu­ting the events of the Battle of Algiers (1956/1957). The black and white news­reel-style film caused a sensa­tion. Effec­ti­vely banned in France until 1971, the film took on mythi­cal status in Alge­ria, where it was scree­ned each year on tele­vi­sion to comme­mo­rate the coun­try’s inde­pen­dence. It was copro­du­ced by the company of Saadi Yacef, one of the heroes of the struggle for libe­ra­tion, who plays himself in Ponte­cor­vo’s film. The shoo­ting of the film was used as a ruse to allow the tanks of Boume­die­ne’s army to enter the city more discreetly during the coup that over­threw President Ben Bella. In 2003, during the mili­tary opera­tions in Iraq, the film was shown to U.S. offi­cers as an example of a success­ful struggle against urban terro­rism. Event co-sponsored by the Maison Francaise, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and Middle East Institute, Film and Media Studies, and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life.

Contact Information

Alexander Kutler