With a cast comprised of non-professionals – excluding actor Jean Martin who plays suave but deadly Col. Mathieu – and featuring thousands of extras, Gillo Pontecorvo’s large-scale masterpiece recreates episodes from the brutal conflict between the French militia and the Algerian National Liberation Front striving for independence in the 1950s. Using techniques more often associated with documentary filmmaking, the story reveals the extreme measures taken by both sides – the unpredictable guerilla tactics employed by the Algerians as well as the torturous means used by the French to extract information from prisoners. Nearly 50 years on and this remains as striking, rousing and pertinent as ever.
Join us to discuss this film in our free film club The Critical Take.
This screening is part of Anger is an Energy: Cinema of Protest, our season throughout August that features films – from a range of time periods and national cultures – that examine how some of cinema’s most creative and daring directors have tackled and responded to sociopolitical dissent.