27 Mar 2010
The Battle for Algiers
Just re-watching 'The Battle for Algiers'
An amazing and inspiring film.
Pretty smart review here
The film's resonance with the current moment is undeniable. The suffocating military occupation, the resounding imbalance of power and the clampdown through checkpoints all call to mind the Israel/Palestine conflict. Mathieu's whimsical choice of “champagne” to name his operation anticipates the Israeli's more cynical use of “rainbow” in conjunction with their recent genocidal actions in the Gaza strip town of Rafah. The planet's last colonial circumstance echoing the film's delineation of one of history's most notorious. It is a circumstance where every choice, the method of marriage for example, becomes a political act, a potential act of resistance and even war, as stated in an early wedding scene of two Algerians. Interestingly, it was then Israeli Prime-Minister Ben-Gurion who at one point lobbied for a two-state solution in Algeria much like the final status currently being sought for Israel/Palestine. As described, the film understands the very real dilemmas that engage colonized perpetrators of violence. The rooftop discussion between LaPointe and Ben M'Hidi in which the latter insists that terrorism alone will neither bring victory nor sustain the revolution is a case in point. The evenhanded look at these issues deserves a place within the current discussion of the Israel/Palestine conflict today.
Gillo Pontecorvo also made the classic ecosocialist film starring Marlon Brando, 'Burn!'....a account of which can be found here from John Bellamy Foster.