The Battle of Algiers

by Michael Potemra

The legendary 1965 movie The Battle of Algiers by Italian leftist director Gillo Pontecorvo is being re-released; it opens today in NY and DC. The film has been screened at the Pentagon recently as a case study in how to fight—and defeat—urban terrorism; Zbigniew Brzezinski has also recommended it for this purpose. But this film has more than didactic value; it’s also a very effective piece of narrative cinema. What makes it especially impressive is that while it was designed as a propaganda piece for the newly independent Algerian regime, it actually manages to depict some of the French counterterrorist leaders in a sympathetic light.

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