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The Battle of Algiers

Dune Panther

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The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 drama about the Algerian insurgency and of the French efforts to crush it. During the time the film mostly focus upon (1954-57), the French had long since colonized Algeria and an insurgent group has risen to try and defeat the French and make Algeria independent in their own fashion. Additional information regarding the movie is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_of_Algiers, and details of the Algerian War of Independence are here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War.


Many of the events shown in the film occurred in real life, including the escalating use of terrorism and the increasing brutality of the French forces towards the Algerians (including the use of torture). Paradoxically, while the French military was able to crush the insurgency in Algiers through such brutal measures, they lost the Algerian war, in part, because French public and political opinion turned against them because of such measures being employed.


The Battle of Algiers is arguably the finest movie ever produced regarding an insurgency and of the tactics used to combat it, and it won many awards. And even though the film was made in black & white, it is still extremely realistic. There was a time when the movie was shown by various intelligence agencies to their personnel as part of their training, and certain extremist groups and individuals still draw inspiration from it, even all these years since it was made. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.


As of this writing, the film is available to watch for free at the Archive library website: https://archive.org/details/TheBattleOfAlgiers1966. And while the movie is in French (and parts are in another language that I have not identified, perhaps either Arabic or Algerian Berber), it is also subtitled in English or Dutch (viewer's choice). To turn on English subtitles, click the large Start arrow (on the screen, may have to click it twice before it starts). Once the movie begins, click on the "CC" (close caption) box. A menu will pop up, and from there select "English".    

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