Interview: True Matilda
Politics: State of Play
Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Unions: Rhodes Scholars
National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
International: People Power
Economics: A Bit Rich
History: Mine Shafts
Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Organising: Building a Wave
Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Culture: The Word On The Street
The Locker Room
Co-operating At All Costs
All Good Except You
The Battle Of Algiers
Its comment goes far beyond the struggle of its Algerian protagonists for self-determination - it becomes an intensely powerful political "documentary" on the use of coercive power.
It's disciplined even handedness to the occupying French paratroopers and Algerian freedom fighters is flawless.
And this third person like refusal to romantisise either side can not be flippantly tossed aside either.
Not when you learn the producer is a former Freedom fighter boss who wrote the film clandestinely while imprisoned (he also plays himself).
And of course for the current palate there are parallels a plenty with the Iraq quagmire, and the mess which is Israel.
In fact the Pentagon screened the film last August to wise up future occupation forces in Baghdad.
It begins when we are dropped into the Algerian National Liberation Front's (FLN) mid 50's campaign of police assassinations and terrorist bombings.
The rebels have become more than just an irritant and the colonial French regime sends in the paratroopers.
Immediately the contradictions begin. At the head of the intimidating military force is a Colonel who cut his teeth as a partisan in World War II.
His pragmatic self justification is chillingly illustrated at a press conference to publicise the chance capture of a key FLN leader when he tells the carping journos that to combat terrorism "you must accept all the consequences".
His aside "even the communist press in France supports our actions" is just one of the barbs the movie delivers into its cheek.
He stops the reptiles' questions at the conference after just a handful, "before this exercise begins to have the opposite effect."
Juxtaposed with the Colonel's use of extreme torture is a scene of unusual war preparation from his enemy which is just as disturbing.
We see the western ritual of women putting on make up and figure hugging dresses carried out with deadly seriousness by a group of muslin Algerian women - with an eerie almost techno action beat behind it.
Then we see them flirt their way past checkpoints manned by whistling French soldiers to plant bombs in a sidewalk cafe, a teenage hang out and an Air France office in the European quarter of the city.
Both sides commit atrocities to get their own way. And both sides have a healthy respect for each other's position.
One FLM leader remarks, "it's hard to get a revolution started, harder to keep it going, but the really hard work comes after power is won."
We live the FLN's tactical agony of calling a general strike to show the United Nations the depth of community support for self-determination.
This is despite the strike giving an anonymous guerilla force a face in the thousands who participate and so a target for the fury of the French soldiers.
By far the most powerful scences in the film are the shots of massive surging demonstrations towards the end, where furious Algerian women and youths swarm into soldiers and tanks hurling rocks - while hundreds of them are cut down by equally determined gunfire.
They defiantly wave national flags in the face of the soldiers as they are pushed back again and again.
These are the scenes that had such gripping realism they forced the original 1968 U.S. distributor to insert the disclaimer "not one foot of newsreel or documentary film has been used".
The Battle of Algiers is a brilliant film, which does not purport to give us a cogent narrative.
Rather a "fly on the wall" look at the events of a couple of years where characters appear by chance more than once. Not because they are needed as a soap-opera prisom with which to humanise a bigger sociological story - but simply because they had an important part to play and so figure in a true depiction of events numerous times.
Algiers is not "based on a true story", it IS a true story artificially re-created.
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