Friday, April 3, 2009

YM Movie Today: The Battle of Algiers

The time for today's Year of the Mediterranean film has been changed from 1:30 to 4:00.

Today in the library Media Room, the Year of the Mediterranean program will present The Battle of Algiers, the 1966 Italian film depicting events during the 1954-1962 Algerian War against French rule. The movie is in black-and-white documentary style, so realistic that a disclaimer was added for American showings: "not one foot" of actual newsreel was used.

Although commissioned by the Algerian government, the film has been hailed for its even-handedness, portraying the atrocities committed on both sides: the torture used by the French, the use of bombs in soda shops by the Algerian insurgents. Still, the movie was banned in France for five years.

In 2003, the Pentagon offered a special screening of the film, comparing the events of the film to the problems faced by the US military in Iraq.

The Battle of Algiers was nominated for three Academy Awards and won the UN Award at the 1972 BAFTA Awards, three Silver Ribbon awards from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, the 1968 Kinema Junpo award for Best Foreign Language Film, and the Golden Lion and FIPRESCI prize at the 1966 Venice Film Festival.

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