Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: La Battaglia Di Algeria
Italy/Algeria, 1966. Casbah Film, Igor Film. Screenplay by Gillo Pontecorvo, Franco Solinas. Cinematography by Marcello Gatti. Produced by Antonio Musu, Yacef Saadi. Music by Ennio Morricone, Gillo Pontecorvo. Production Design by Sergio Canevari. Costume Design by Giovanni Axerio. Film Editing by Mario Morra, Mario Serandrei. Podcast: My Criterions.
This marvelous political drama uses not one single frame of stock footage in its telling, and yet you would swear it was a documentary. It takes place in Algeria during a time when its citizens grew weary of French rule and staged a revolution that led to the country’s independence in 1962. The film mainly concentrates on two characters, a rebel leader who symbolizes the people’s desire for freedom, and the French police colonel who has made it his personal mission to find the man and put an end to his rebellion. One suspense sequence after another follows at a perfectly rhythmic pace until the exciting and relieving conclusion; the editing is seamless and the acting is marvelous. This is one that fans of historical drama will definitely not want to miss.
The Criterion Collection: #249
Venice Film Festival Award: Golden Lion