The Battle of Algiers in November

Argent Films

have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of The Battle of Algiers for 17th November 2003 with a retail price of £19.99. Gillo Pontecorvo's highly acclaimed film has been digitally remastered from a new print (restoring the film's newsreel look, as devised through painstaking experimentation with film stock, light and lab processing by director Gillo Pontecorvo and cinematographer Marcello Gatti), and incorporating previously unseen footage (featuring the recitation of an Islamic prayer), this version of The Battle of Algiers was especially assembled with the participation of Channel 4's dedicated film channel, FilmFour, and represents the most complete version of the film available.

  • Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation
  • Original French and Arabic language version with optional English subtitles
  • Exclusive, brand new interview with director Gillo Pontecorvo
  • Extensive production stills gallery

From the PR:

The winner of numerous awards, including a BAFTA UN Award and both the Golden Lion and the FIPRESCI Award at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, director Gillo Pontecorvo's highly acclaimed masterpiece THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS is regarded as one of modern cinema's finest achievements. A regular fixture in critics' and filmmakers' "Greatest Movies of All Time" lists, the film was also nominated for three Oscars, including Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film.

Set during the 1954 to 1962 Franco-Algerian conflict, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS effectively and authentically recreates the pivotal political events that took place in the city of Algiers between 1954 and 1957. In an attempt to end French colonialism, which had been in place since 1830, in 1954 the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) began a war of liberation, using terrorism to highlight the plight of the Algerian people to the rest of the world. In response to the escalating terrorist violence in the city of Algiers, the French government sent in an armed force of paratroopers to crush the uprising. Authorised to use whatever force and methods were believed to be necessary in bringing an end to the revolution, the actions of the French military led to a regrettable catalogue of atrocities being committed by those on both sides of the conflict.

Shot documentary-style in grainy, newsreel quality monochrome, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS is an extremely powerful, deeply moving and often shocking cinematic experience. The film's remarkable authenticity is helped in no small part by the Algerian government's assistance in providing the production with financial assistance and access to military resources, as well as allowing the filmmakers the run of the city. Also key to the film's effectiveness is Pontecorvo's casting of non-professional locals in the majority of the key roles (the exception being the role of Colonel Matthieu, beautifully played by French actor Jean Martin). Particularly impressive are Brahim Haggiag, who gives an unforgettable performance as FLN leader Ali La Pointe and, as the head of the FLN, the film's producer Saadi Yacef, himself a real-life senior FLN leader and one of the few such figures to be taken alive during the actual conflict.

Pontecorvo's astonishing film presents a poignant and admirably unbiased view of a tragic period in modern history. As powerful today as it was on its original release, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS is, perhaps, even more relevant in today's global political climate than ever before and makes for essential viewing.

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