Past Event

Films and the Algerian Revolution - Part 1

November 2, 2022
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Buell Hall, 515 W. 116 St., New York, NY 10027 East Gallery


This film screening is part of a larger series of events on Algeria at 60: Images from a Revolution

Film Program:

Bread Delivery (La distribution de pain) by Cécile Decugis, 1957-2011, 14 min., Tunisia/Algeria

Shot in Tunisia near the border with Algeria in 1957 by Cécile Decugis with French-Tunisian producer Hedy Ben Khelifa, the film was conceived to be shown at the UN to denounce the living conditions of Algerian refugees, as well as displacements caused by the war. In 2011, the director revisited her 1957 film, adding a new commentary that she reads in voice-over. 

Cécile Decugis, who was at the time an editor for Godard and Rohmer, among others, was arrested and incarcerated in Paris while working on the editing of François Truffaut's Tirez sur le pianiste, and served several years in the women's prison of Petite Roquette for aiding the FLN (Algerian National Liberation Front).

Les compagnies de hauts-parleurs et tracts, unknown director, 10 min., 1957, France (Service Cinéma des Armées) 

Through fictional situations, this film produced by the Service Cinéma des Armées offers an effective and humanized image of the French Army, which arrests the "terrorists" (...) but also reconnects with the population and gives them jobs, opens roads, heals, teaches, builds... (c.f. Sébastien Denis)

Contre-guérilla by Philippe de Broca, 18 min., 1957, France (Service Cinéma des Armées) 

This short film focuses on the means used by the French Army to try to (re)conquer the Algerian population through diversified propaganda, which used images (posters, photos, film) and sound (loudspeakers, radio broadcasts). This documentary describes the methods and strategy of the "psychological warfare" with an enthusiasm and optimism that ultimately proved to be illusory since the war of images was ultimately lost by the colonial power, which ended up negotiating independence with the FLN.

L’armée et le drame algérien, unknown director, 15 min., 1957, France (Service Cinéma des Armées)

As noted by film historian Sebastien Denis, this short instructional film does not conceal the killing of soldiers. It seeks to sharpen the attention of the young recruits by showing them the mistakes to avoid, and by helping them understand the stakes of counter-guerrilla warfare. This type of approach, analyzing counter-insurgency and counter-guerrilla warfare, has served as a matrix for many other conflicts opposing a great military power to a country and a people resorting to "irregular" warfare.

Algeria in Flames (L'Algérie en flammes) by René Vautier, 22 min., 1958, Algeria (FLN)

Shot on the side of the FLN and the ALN, it is undoubtedly one of the best known films of the Algerian struggle and the most used in later documentaries (Batty, Stora, Branche...) to depict the struggle of the Algerians. Vautier filmed the life of the ALN fighters, he also shows the way the liberation movement looks after and educates the population, substituting itself for the colonial power and fighting for the Algerians.

Contact Information

Clara Wilhelm