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The Battle of Algiers


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#1 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 03:37 AM

I saw a print of this film on sunday and I was very impressed by the cinematography. Beautiful black & white, lovely grain, some very high contrast shots. The operating felt very documentary like, but there still were plenty of beautiful compositions. If they hadn't said that no archive material was used, I would have never have guessed that the huge crowd shots were staged. So many people and that one tank chewing up the side walk. Great film and a subject matter that is still very relevant today, handled in a very balanced way.
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#2 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 04:20 AM

I saw a print of this film on sunday and I was very impressed by the cinematography. Beautiful black & white, lovely grain, some very high contrast shots. The operating felt very documentary like, but there still were plenty of beautiful compositions. If they hadn't said that no archive material was used, I would have never have guessed that the huge crowd shots were staged. So many people and that one tank chewing up the side walk. Great film and a subject matter that is still very relevant today, handled in a very balanced way.


A wonderful film, interesting you say 'beautiful compositions' because the director would often lose shots that he thought were to composed, or looked artificial - i guess the compositions had to be more unusual rather than traditionaly composed.

And yes its very balanced film (I love the unusual character of the French general - The film is something which rarely exists, an exciting and visual film which is also a political and balanced story.
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#3 Daniel Smith

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 06:17 AM

It's a great film. I think they should show it more often, then people can get an unbiased account of both sides of todays forces.

And I think the 'un-usual' character of the french general may be something to do with him being the only professional actor. So I was told.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 11 April 2007 - 06:18 AM.

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#4 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 09:06 AM

'The Battle of Algiers' was certainly a very 'different' kind of film. Prior to my viewing of this film, I assumed that all feature films were made to entertain people. This film was clearly not 'entertainment.' Some films are designed to deliver a certain message to the audience while being entertaining at the same time. Not this film. It's sole purpose was to highlight the struggle of this group of people resisting against an oppressive force - and it did so in a very stark, grim way.
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#5 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 12:18 PM

It's sole purpose was to highlight the struggle of this group of people resisting against an oppressive force - and it did so in a very stark, grim way.


Ah yes, but it never demondised the oppressive force- only their conviction and actions were shown to be wrong or evil. Many Hollwood films could learn a lot from this.
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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 01:34 PM

A wonderful film, interesting you say 'beautiful compositions' because the director would often lose shots that he thought were to composed, or looked artificial - i guess the compositions had to be more unusual rather than traditionaly composed.

You could see that they still put alot of thought into the compositions, they were nicely staged in depth for some part. Films like 'Good Night and Good Luck' and 'Syriana' who also tried for a documentary style, but less succesfully so would have done well to see this film to get an idea how it's really done.
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#7 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 02:27 PM

You could see that they still put alot of thought into the compositions, they were nicely staged in depth for some part. Films like 'Good Night and Good Luck' and 'Syriana' who also tried for a documentary style, but less succesfully so would have done well to see this film to get an idea how it's really done.


Something that has puzzled me is that references to it's 60s US release list it as being CinemaScope.
It's not shot anamorphic. I've seen 16mm prints, it was filmed with a 1.85 hard matte with a few shots on a camera with a full or academy aperture.

One of the frequently mentioned aesthetic strategies is that it is quite grainy to help wit the newsreel look.
So blowing it up to 'Scope would fit in with that.

But watching the DVD, it just doesn't seem that the 1.85 would crop well to 2.35.

Was the old Cinemascope listings a RogerCorman sort of thing, like Superama?

The Ennio Moriconne score is another asset.
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#8 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 06:02 PM

It's most definitely spherical and even then it is quite nicely grainy.
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#9 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 04:02 AM

I liked almost every thing about this film.

-It's a trilingual film, at that made by Italians who put not a single word of their tongue in the film.

-Ennio Morricone's scoring is rediculously dramatic(in a good way) and adds perfect amounts of suspense and thrill overall. Like the neverending drum beats when intense stuff it happening.

-The cinematic style is really great, the feel and composition makes you feel not like an observer, but like you were right there in the action, almost forgetting youre watching a movie.

-The fact that they used black and white in 1966 is neat, because that was the start of the decline of black and white and they clearly got the most out of the new faster and less-grain stocks -- color was still iffy for what they were doing (the candle-lit hideout stuff, etc). They got the most they could out of the stocks and did it really well.

-Incredible amount of symbolism, I thought the sperations of French and Algierians in a lot of scenes were effectively stricking the chords of racism and prejudice, and were in many ways a cry for people to see and learn and think about something as such.

Im rambling, a bit tired, but yeah I recently watched it and thought it was amazing.

Especially with the Lawrence of Arabia-esque story telling style, with the resolution at the beginning and then the story begins.
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#10 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 06:10 AM

this film was forbiden in France for decades ! guess why?
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 07:12 AM

this film was forbiden in France for decades ! guess why?

Would make a good double bill with 'Paths of Glory' wouldn't it? ;)
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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 02:38 PM

It's most definitely spherical and even then it is quite nicely grainy.


Corman used to advertise movies as being in Vistascope or Superama, but they were plain old 1.85.
& a few dubbed Russian movies were 1.33, but still advertised as Vistascope.

Still, it's a bit of a disappointment that this wasn't blown up to scope back in the 60s.
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#13 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 03:07 PM

Would make a good double bill with 'Paths of Glory' wouldn't it? ;)


you can add "avoir vingt ans dans les aures" by rene vautier a french fighter in the algerian independist lines.
the guy is still followed by the "RG" (french cia) today !!!
he is a hero in algeria thow :)
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#14 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 04:06 PM

Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès (1972)
... aka To Be Twenty in the Aures (International: English title)
on imdb
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#15 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 09:40 PM

Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès (1972)
... aka To Be Twenty in the Aures (International: English title)
on imdb


Wouldnt it be "Etre 20 ans dans les Aurès"..?

because avoir means to have, and etre means to be.


Although I think the French express age differently, they "have" the age rather than "be" it.
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#16 dremz

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 12:00 PM

good film .. i saw this few days back here in our HYDERABAD INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL..

thought it was b&w movie... i learned lot of things..

the style was purly documentry...some of the shots ... still mind blowing for me...
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 12:46 PM

"dremz", it's time to edit your Display Name (go to My Controls) into a real first and last name (with a space inbetween) as per the forum rules. Thanks.
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