The Battle of Algiers


Any film that can be shown both by the Pentagon, as a tutorial on how to defeat a guerrilla movement, and by guerrilla groups, as an illustration of how to defeat a superior power, has to have done a remarkable job depicting the two sides of a conflict.  The Battle of Algiers (1966) is about the French-Algerian war that ended with Algerian independence in 1962. It was directed by an Italian, Gillo Pontecorvo, written by and starring an Algerian FLN guerrilla fighter, Yacef Saadi, and it remains one of the only depictions of North Africa on film that looks anything like the lived experience on the ground.
A book on the same subject by Alistair Horne called A Savage War of Peace remains, nearly 35 years after first publication, one of the definitive works about guerrilla war and decolonisation.

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