249 The Battle of Algiers

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colinr0380
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249 The Battle of Algiers

#1 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:21 am

The Battle of Algiers

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One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo’s tour de force has astonishing relevance today.

Disc Features

- High-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Marcello Gatti (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said
- Marxist Poetry: The Making of “The Battle of Algiers,” a documentary featuring interviews with Pontecorvo, Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and others
- Interviews with Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone on the film’s influence, style, and importance
- Remembering History, a documentary reconstructing the Algerian experience of the battle for independence
- “États d’armes,” a documentary excerpt featuring senior French military officers recalling the use of torture and execution to combat the Algerian rebellion
- “The Battle of Algiers”: A Case Study, a video piece featuring U.S. counterterrorism experts
- Gillo Pontecorvo’s Return to Algiers, a documentary in which the filmmaker revisits the country after three decades of independence
- Production gallery
- Theatrical and rerelease trailers
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, excerpts from Algeria’s National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef’s original account of his arrest, excerpts from the film’s screenplay, a reprinted interview with cowriter Franco Solinas, and biographical sketches of key figures in the French-Algerian War



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#2 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:38 am

I found the film very interesting and the Criterion release of this is excellent and answered all the questions I had at the end of the film - how true to the real events was it, why hasn't Pontecorvo made more than a handful of films since (and I now really want to see his ETA film Ogro), and partly answered my questions about what has happened in Algeria since, though I really need more information about both the period between 1965 and 1992 (when Pontecorvo's documentary was made) and what has happened post 1992.

I'm no historian and my viewpoint on the film is definitely biased and most probably naive given my knowledge of world events, but the film certainly gave me a lot to think about:

One of the things that I did not see discussed with relation to the use of torture on the disc extra features (and the use of torture was covered from many other different angles) is how if you have a government that is putting pressure on those carrying out the torture to get results then in a way that can take precedence over getting any useful information - I am thinking of the Irish situation and the way that the police in cases like the Guildford Four or Birmingham Six were under such pressure to get a conviction that they led their suspects into confessing by telling the suspect what they wanted to hear which they would then confess to after enough 'coercion'. It becomes about the person being tortured working out what the torturer wants to know and telling them that to stop the treatment, because the torturer will only stop when they are satisfied they have all the information. So unless they already know what the person being tortured knows and just want corroboration, the torturer probably will not know the full extent of the persons knowledge of the situation - they may have told everything they know, or still be holding something back - so it falls to the individual torturers judgement about how far they are willing to go.

Perhaps in the Irish example, this is a testament to the power of the media that needs quick victories and a defined 'bad guy' to pin the blame on to provide closure - as could be seen in Iraq by using the statue being pulled down to signify that the war had ended. But that just causes more problems as those who committed the act are still free and others are sent to prison under false charges. I think a lot of what is going on with the war in Iraq is that the government and military are trying to put this media friendly spin on things which is just going to backfire when the reality of events is uncovered, as with the Abu Ghraib prison, or the Jessica Lynch 'rescue'.

Also one of the things that struck me while watching the film was how throughout history there have been a series of invasions followed by settling in an attempt to, bluntly, breed the indigenous peoples out or kill them to replace them with their own. You can see it in Ireland with the attempts by Cromwell in the 17th Century to replace the Catholics with Protestants, in this film with the Pieds-noirs, the Australians over the Aborigines or the Americans over the Native Americans, the Israelis over the Palestinians. And the most seditious part of it is that once the people have settled in the area and bred, their children are now French-Algerian, Northern Irish, Israeli, Australian, South African, American etc and have as much of a birthright to the land as the indigenous population. So now there is a terrible situation where both peoples have a claim and the only truly 'wrong' in that situation are those who first decided to settle in land that was not theirs. Should the children be condemned for the actions of the parents because by simply existing they are continuing the oppression of those who were colonised (and thereby in a terrible sense having been used both by their home country and their parents as a means of rooting themselves further into their new land and in another sense becoming legitimate targets for the people opposed to their being there)? Can we fault those peoples being slowly bred out or killed from fighting back against it, as now they exist between having been forced from their homes and wanting to keep their identity? It's a very difficult question, since now the damage has been done we are all living with the scars.

You get the sense that in colonisation or the case of the US attempts at regime change such as Noriega etc leading up to the Bush Jnr's stated regime change policy there is a view that the people of the country being colonised or invaded are 'lesser' or subhuman. Its never explicitly stated that way but to me that could be the only answer to the thinking that allows one set of people (through their government and their value system, their hegemony) to take over another country and implement its own regime � they either believe that the peoples being colonised are unable to rule themselves properly to the extent that they must be controlled by a colonial or invading power to bring a �peace� and prevent them becoming a danger to other countries, which is kind of a patronising view because it suggests that the people are not smart or able enough to run their own affairs.

So that would be an aim that a colonial power would push as its main message, because it suggests that they are acting altruistically. Underneath that of course there are other reasons for colonisation or invasion, practical securing of resources either things like oil (as we�re seeing at the moment) or land (e.g. Nazi Germany's Lebensraum) or people (such as the way people in countries like India would produce goods to ship back to England, or how slaves were used in the 'cotton triangle' by being shipped to America from Africa to work in the fields with the crop sent to Europe for manufacture and ships from Europe going off to Africa to collect more slaves - sorry its been a while since I studied it so I'm not sure the details are of the cotton triangle are correct but the system of slavery for money in which the people are as much of a commodity is what I'm getting at)

Both the stated and unstated reasons for colonisation or invasion treat those being colonised like dirt. Even the altruistic one of changing the regime for the good of the people is like someone coming into your house and changing the wallpaper because they think you will like it more � if you wanted to change it you would. There are a lot of more complex factors muddying this issue - such as how far people in a country can be claimed to influence its government or support its policies. No one would be likely to say that the Taliban or Sadddam Hussain were great leaders (although there must be some support otherwise it would have been impossible to sustain their system of government), but for example if Spain invaded America and killed George Bush Jr for the good of the world (and I�d say there was a case to be made for assassinating him, even if it did make him a martyr!) and then held elections where Amercians could only vote between two Spanish appointed leaders, America would be up in arms at being pushed around and told what to do by another county with its own aims and hegemony. After all wasn't that what the American War of Independence was about, not being pushed around by a power thousands of miles away?

When you treat people, consciously or unconsciously like they are less than human and not worthy of even the simplest respect that you don't even think about them when you take over their country and put your own people there, or give their country away to a third party as could be shown by the British and Americans in the creation of Israel, you are going to cause a lot of ill-feeling and backlash amongst those who have been treated unfairly. Now I think that the reason you get a lot of people feeling wronged when they are kicked out of a country is because they feel that have done so much good (say the British in India or how America might feel now they have 'saved' Iraq with the thinking that Iraq should unquestionably get behind the US) and do not realise that even the good things were done in a patronising "this is the best way", imposed manner, similar I think to the way master would treat a pet - in need of guidance because they cannot do it for themselves. People feel wronged because they cannot understand that for example Indians are people too and want to take control of their own lives and be responsible for their own achievements and mistakes in government, something which colonial powers cannot understand because of the mindset about the abilities of the indigenous people to govern themselves that had to be adopted to invade a country in the first place! So the colonisers or invaders' grief may be genuine and may have the best interests of a colony at heart, but in the end like a parent learning to give its child freedom, people have to govern themselves.

Unfortunately after a long period of being under someone else's control, there will always be problems in getting used to governing yourself, for example India's difficulties and eventual partition and the danger that a dictator ends up in power. And this can lead some to say "well we shouldn't have left, they obviously can't cope without a guiding hand", but this disregards the fact that a move from complete colonisation to complete freedom is a major philosophical change that would not have happened so powerfully had a colonisation not taken place in the first instance. This kind of climate does mean that radical and extremist views get more prominent because there is a lot of disorder and a need for a controlling force to replace that which has left - hopefully things will settle down eventually, and this can be helped by a controlled handover (for example the stepped handover of Hong Kong as opposed to a seemingly "let's get the hell out of here!" attitude of say the British in India or Vietnam by the French that can leave a dangerous power vacuum)

One other thing that struck me when watching the film is how distanced the political actions seemed from the people. There's been a lot of talk about which side the film was on, and I'd agree it was on the FLN side, but it struck me very powerfully that the FLN action was presented as action for their own political purposes, which incidentally involved winning the people over for their cause. It wasn't presented as a 'people's revolution' like say the Russian Revolution or was an uprising that gathered the force of a lot of people, like say Gandhi (and it seems interesting that when politics entered India once the British had left and Gandhi had been assassinated things became less idealistic and took on the more political dimensions, with all the personal infighting and power struggles at the expense of the country itself that was caused). In a sense it was more calculated - I don't really mean to put a negative spin on calculated, since I think all politics is that! It was mentioned in the Battle of Algiers: A Case Study discussion, where they talk about causing a state to crack down on the 'average' people so they gravitate towards your cause, so if that was the way of thinking of the FLN there is a certain attitude towards the people being expendable, such as the massacres mentioned in the Remembering History documentary that only helped to strengthen the FLN's cause.

I'm not sure that the Islamic state mentioned in the communications from the FLN in the film would be any better for the 'people' than the French (although at least, as in India, self-government is a first step), and I felt that the cause was portrayed as more for the ends of the FLN than for the people, just as the actions of the French were more in their interests. In this sense I found the film amazingly even handed, not just a paean to terrorism and made me think seriously about how the people of a country are in service to any political system, rather than the political system being a means of expression of the people.

I've never seen the battle of hegemonies so amazingly described as in this film. It suggests very powerfully the struggle between 'values and ideas' as Richard Clarke put it and that whether the struggle is done for a 'good' or 'bad' reason, there are always innocent victims such as those caught up in both the Casbah and restaurant bombings.

THE DOCUMENTARIES

I really enjoyed the documentaries, there was a good mixture between the talking heads of the Criterion produced extras and the more archive footage style of the French and reportage-style of the Italian documentaries which I really appreciated. The Etats D�Armes documentary was excellent, it was very interesting to get the former torturer being interviewed (and I guess this was the main reason for the programme�s inclusion) and the footage of Algiers at the time. Does anyone have details of what the other two programmes were about?

And wasn�t that Italian �Mixer� programme strange? I don�t think they could have put any more television screens into that studio! The documentary was invaluable and very interesting as a return to the locations and an idea of political climate of 1992, even if a lot of the graphics were overly flashy and worked against the overall serious tone of the content being covered.

But the crowning achievement were the Criterion documentaries especially the Remembering History documentary which gave the historical background that had been changed to make an exciting film. They give so much information about such an important subject that I think this is definitely going to end up being my Criterion of the year despite my love of Cronenberg and especially Videodrome (which I thought nothing would be able to surpass for me!)

This is an interesting article on the history of Algeria up through the War of Independence to the present day.

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#3 Post by scotty » Mon Dec 13, 2004 10:43 pm

If I had to present the history of the world since 1492 in two hours, I might just throw up my hands and show this film. It calls all of the assumptions of western civilization into question, not only politically but philosophically. The 1992 documentary only underscores this. Brilliant release; it immediately made my mythical, ever-changing all-time top ten.

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#4 Post by Steven H » Mon Dec 13, 2004 10:59 pm

I'm waiting to watch it for when the Nov. election results finally sink in.

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#5 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:41 pm

One of the things I was thinking about that the Dictatorship of Truth and Five Directors documentaries brought up was how the political climate has changed. When the Dictatorship of Truth documentary asks why Pontecorvo has stopped making films and Steven Soderbergh in the Five Directors piece says that he really liked that period when Battle of Algiers and Z etc were coming out, and Mira Nair and Oliver Stone discuss the problems of distribution I think they might answer the question of where Pontecorvo has been and why political films as a genre seem so few and far between.

I think that policitians of all political sides in many countries, Britain very much included, have come to realise the power of apathy in winning elections with low turn outs (apparently only around 51% of the population of Britain voted in the last British election in 2001 according to a recent BBC Newsnight piece), pushing ideas through by the narrowest of margins, disenfranchising people from the democratic process and not allowing debate over their actions. This allows policitical parties to push through their ideas with very little resistance because the general public are either unaware of what is happening, or feel like they do not have a say, or literally do not have a say because their regional representatives have strong personal views which overwhelm the needs of their electorate (something which Battle of Algiers touches on in the way the FLN can use the anger caused by the casbah bombing for its own political purposes - raising the question of whether we are we running or run by our political leaders)

Coming back to political films, when I saw Battle of Algiers it got me excited about how political movements can be a force for change (for good or bad) and made me feel more excited about politics than any dry news report has done. It makes me want to get involved and learn more about politics, and I think that is the greatest achievement and also the greatest threat to a culture of political apathy there is. Much of politics may be dull legislation and nowhere near as dangerous and world-changing as the events portrayed in this film and Z, but I feel that politics is being dulled-down even more than it already is so that the general public think to themselves that it is boring, dry, nothing to do with them etc.

Great political films are few and far between (I'm thinking of things like Defence of the Realm (1985) Hidden Agenda (1990) or even Capra's Mr Smith Goes To Washington) perhaps because there is a general feeing of not really wanting people to get too excited about the subject, to get involved with their own ideas about government, and maybe cause trouble. And I feel that this culture of political apathy is also self-perpetuating - people are bored with real politics, so they are not going to want to go to see a political film, no matter how good it is, so financiers and producers do not want to finance a film that it is very likely people will not want to go and see. I don't think there is any great conspiracy there, I think it is just a commercial decision. Which is in a way what makes the Michael Moore documentaries a great achievement as whatever one thinks about them, they seem to have at least got people who see films more politically engaged or aware than before!

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#6 Post by Galen Young » Wed Nov 23, 2005 3:20 am

I gotta figure someone besides me would be interested to know this: an Italian CD of the complete music soundtrack by Ennio Morricone and Gillo Pontecorva has been released. Got it, and can say that it's excellent!

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#7 Post by thewind » Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:02 pm

I'm kinda dumbfounded that there is only one page with 6 replies discussing this DVD set, one of the best sets I think Criterion's ever produced.

What's up with that?

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#8 Post by zedz » Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:32 pm

The fifteen or whatever pages of detailed, insightful postings that preceded and immediately followed the release of the set were lost when the site crashed late last year.

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#9 Post by thewind » Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:41 pm

Ahhhhhh, gotcha. I could have sworn I'd read some good discussion of this set, and I check in here so infrequently I didn't know about the crash. Sorry.

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#10 Post by King of Kong » Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:49 pm

I must take issue, colin, with your lumping Israel in with those countries. The Jewish connection to Israel is not like that of the other peoples you have mentioned. Indeed, Jews have had a 3000-year old presence in the Holy Land - not all of them left. The French had no prior hisory in Algeria, nor did the British in Australia. The Jews did not come to the region as agents of this or that empire, looking to exploit the land and its people in the service of western civilisation. That the Arabs may have viewed the Jews as colonisers from Europe is only half the story.

And the "Palestinians' country" was not simply given to the Jews by America and Britain - Jews had constantly been returning to the region, buying up land and setting up infrastructure - all funded by the Jews themselves, not some colonial power. "Palestine" at the time was the name of a region, not an independent state, and there were numerous diplomatic initiatives taken by all sides - Jewish, Arab, Ottoman, British - resulting in numerous partition plans, the last one being that issued by the UN in 1947 - the one the Arab states rejected. The war that resulted, after the Arab states invaded Israel just after its birth, was responsible for the Palestinian refugee problem - and Jewish refugees were created as well (i.e. the Jews who resided in what is now East Jerusalem had been doing so for centuries - they weren't guys from Brooklyn named Goldberg - and they were kicked out by the Jordanians during the war). In addition, shortly after the 1948 war, the Arab states virtually expelled their Jewish residents, and these people and their descendents make up nearly half of the Israeli population - they too are indigenous people of the Middle East.

It is easy to point the finger when you see one side with tanks and helicopters and the other seemingly destitute and powerless - but the Arab-Israeli conflict is a lot more nuanced for it to be interpreted in a one-size-fits-all colonist-colonised framework.

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#11 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Dec 25, 2005 4:33 am

King of Kong wrote:I must take issue, colin, with your lumping Israel in with those countries. The Jewish connection to Israel is....

It is easy to point the finger when you see one side with tanks and helicopters and the other seemingly destitute and powerless - but the Arab-Israeli conflict is a lot more nuanced for it to be interpreted in a one-size-fits-all colonist-colonised framework.
Oh god man, you're going to open up a can of worms here which is going to start an unending firefight on this thread. The power of BATTLE OF ALGIERS is duly proven by the utility of it's message for all occupiers, leading Colin to compare and then yourself to defend the situation in Palestine/Israel.

I want to let loose on what you replied to this guy-- but this is a board about movies, and this thread is about ALGIERS in particular. Hopefully the moderator will abolish this digression, including mine... but I'll leave you with one thought.

All occupiers rationalize with Sanctified Ideas of Justification. These are inevitably distinguished by their difficulty in acceptance by neutral uninvested observers. I am embarassed by my country's self-glorifying use of it now in Iraq. Remember however that the books of Moses themselves-- where the initial connection to the land is traced-- describe an invasion and occupation of a land very carefully scoped out. And the justification for occupation today by those who practice a religion which originated in the occupied zone will never fly very smoothly in the eyes of detatched observers. I was raised a Christian but have no claim to own Holy Land. What if the multitudes of Oriental & Westen Buddhists invaded & displaced Indians because of the location's source of the religion they practice?

I know you'll reply as it is your intellectual duty, but I'm already making a hypocrite out of myself but not resisting my desire to reply initially. This one's too hot for an--international-- board like this. I want Israel to have Israel, but these religious loonies in the West Bank are setting the world on fire with their stubborn refusal to relinqish the settlements. Withdrawing behind the Green Line would win the support of the vast majority of the rational world and make the balance of then-remaining militants look like genuine genocidal lunatics and not 'freedom fighters'.

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#12 Post by King of Kong » Sun Dec 25, 2005 5:13 am

I'm the last person who wants to get into a political discussion on a non-political board, so I'll keep this short. Yes, I too agree that Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza should come to an end, that is, through a compromise that guarantees Israel's safety from those on the Palestinian side that wish to see it destroyed. The settlers can stay on as citizens of a Palestinian state, or move to Israel, if need be.
However, I do not believe that Israel, behind the Green Line, is a colony in itself. The Jewish connection is also not merely religious - many of the early settlers were aetheists, not religious nuts on a crusade. It's just that, from a cultural and ancestral standpoint, the Jews have their origins in the region.

Sorry for opening up the can of worms...

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#13 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 25, 2005 5:47 am

Kong - I'll reopen the gash with a mention of the European guilt syndrome, particularly and cruelly manifested by the French in their extremely malevolent colonization of Algiers, from which, amongst other things, including the outstanding events that finally pushed the British, along with whatever secret deals they did with the USA and Germany, to pass the Balfour Declaration Acts, they "created" Israel. And the initiations were - in essence - acts of gross extreme terrorism by the Zionists in 1947, in particular by Ben Gurion, among others. Israel is far, far from an innocent bystander in these events.

Never forget the night Vanessa, of all people, got up and did a totally serious number at the Oscars during the 70s of "Zionist hoodlums". (And I stood up in my living room and applauded.) Israel was created by a sea of blood, and much of the spillover, including their illegal occupation/civil war creation in Lebanon is being felt to this day in cities like Sydney and Paris where traumatized, disfunctional first and second gen Lebanses/Palestinian men go on a rampage. This is not, I know an easy subject, but I suggest a trip to Paris, or even Sydney, some time to get a feel for the realities.

In all honesty, even French sensilbilites in movies like Algiers, and more remarkably in Godard and Resnais, Battle gets these things right, to a remarkable degree.

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#14 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Dec 25, 2005 6:22 am

King of Kong wrote:Sorry for opening up the can of worms...
As promised, I knew you'd reply, and now I'm chomping at the bit twitching via wanting to reply but holding back... but you get the last word because I'm not going to Do an Israel/Palestine thing here.

Now excuse me as I must yield to the individual I've called up from my co's housekeeping dept to staple, tie, superglue and bolt me to my recliner which will be picketed into the floor just out of reach of my keyboard, which will be surrounded by razored concertina wire.

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#15 Post by King of Kong » Sun Dec 25, 2005 7:12 am

davidhare wrote:Never forget the night Vanessa, of all people, got up and did a totally serious number at the Oscars during the 70s of "Zionist hoodlums". (And I stood up in my living room and applauded.) Israel was created by a sea of blood, and much of the spillover, including their illegal occupation/civil war creation in Lebanon is being felt to this day in cities like Sydney and Paris where traumatized, disfunctional first and second gen Lebanses/Palestinian men go on a rampage. This is not, I know an easy subject, but I suggest a trip to Paris, or even Sydney, some time to get a feel for the realities.
Don't you think these 1st/2nd generation Lebanese/Palestinian men should just get on with their lives, or take responsibility for their actions? I'm sure there are many 1st/2nd/3rd generation Holocaust survivors who feel pretty pissed off with Germany for what was done to them or their ancestors - should they go nursing this blind hatred for the rest of their lives, or do something constructive?

The sea of blood Israel was created in is also the fault of the surrounding Arab states, who invaded the country at its inception in 1948 - it wasn't "created" out of thin air by European powers racked with guilt over the Nazi Holocaust. Nor was the violence before 1948 committed solely by Jews - the Arabs had a part to play in that too.

I know Israel doesn't have a clean record, and I'm not trying to suggest it is an innocent bystander. I just refuse to accept that its creation was a mistake and that it is solely to blame for all that is ill in the region.

As for Vanessa Redgrave, I recall Paddy Chayefsky saying something along the lines of “I would like to say that I'm sick and tired of people exploiting the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own personal propaganda. I would like to suggest to Miss Redgrave that her winning an Academy Award is not a pivotal moment in history, does not require a proclamation and a simple ‘Thank you' would have sufficed.â€

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#16 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 25, 2005 7:35 am

Kong we should probably bury this (but that would smell too much like censorship.)

The whole Biz of Israel and its constantly bad relations with its neighbors, and them with it, is like an essay in early pre-Napoleonic French internal revolutianirsm. In other words, it's practically inexplcable to most of us, including the Academicians, unless we're experts. And I have stake in the ethnicity - I leave you to guess what it might be.

Nevertheless, I admired Vanessa for her bravery, in tackling an impossible subject (and FUCK Chayevsky for his cheap cracks - he should talk!) within a town and a ceremonial trophy giving exercise that always celebrates the power of the brain dead "popular".

(Dare I remind anyone who isnt sure about the creds, I just yesterday posted a item about Debussy and his "revealed" anti-semitism". The last thing I want this to descend into is some sort of confusion between being Jewish, and Zionism. This still remains the point here. And historians still bury the truth about the establishment of the creation of the Israeli state and the (secondary?) displacement of the Palestinians, and others, all with the sanction of still secret Euro/US post war agreements.

For a real take on Palestine and its disappearance, I suggest anyone reads Genet's book on this. Then go back and watch Battle of Algiers, refreshed, hopefully.

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#17 Post by King of Kong » Sun Dec 25, 2005 9:04 am

davidhare wrote:For a real take on Palestine and its disappearance, I suggest anyone reads Genet's book on this. Then go back and watch Battle of Algiers, refreshed, hopefully.
And I recommend The Righteous Victims by Benny Morris - a revisionist history of the Zionist-Arab conflict from the 19th century to the present day. It's surprisingly detailed and comprehensive, and hated and admired by Zionists and anti-Zionists alike, so he must be doing something right.

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#18 Post by Gordon » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:30 am

Criterion transfer vs. Danish transfer:

Thoughts?

I have been meaning to acquire the Criterion for some time and intended to buy it in the next few weeks, but their be wolves in my path! So what's the deal with the Criterion transfer?

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#19 Post by hammock » Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:34 pm

It would be so easy to recommend the Danish version if they weren't leeching on CC. One thing is releasing a lot of the same movies, but the name...!? I would recommend the CC version based on above fact alone, even if the Danish transfer is a better and remember, the complete content of the CC release is just amazing. I like this release almost as much as Brazil.

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#20 Post by Gordon » Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:38 am

Oh, I am not considering the Danish DVD! I want the good 'ol Criterion USA 3-disc edition! I put off buying it until CD-WOW restocked it, as I didn't want a customs charge when I ordered it from DVD Pacific.

The Danish transfer looks too dark to me. But the cropping on the Criterion is outrageous - look at the first frames on the comparison; the top of the frame is heavily cropped on the Criterion.

Also, is the Criterion progressive?

I'm sure that the Criterion looks great, but no one can deny that there are niggly problems with the transfer. It won't stop me from ordering, however.

Napoleon
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#21 Post by Napoleon » Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:51 am

Yes, the criterion is progressive. That ghosting/combing appears on chapter changes doesn't it (see Henrik's Life Aquatic review at DVDBeaver)? I never got round to checking if this phenomenon is on all cc releases.

The cropping looks pretty bad on those screen grabs, but the framing on the cc looks ok. Correct framing/aspect is a tricky issue and who is to say which is the truer to Pontecorvo's intention?

jcelwin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:09 pm

#22 Post by jcelwin » Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:16 pm

Anyone know why the danish release says 'Algeri', and the Criterion 'Alger', in the first captures?

I'm guessing that Criterion got an original release print and the Danish release was from another country?

When I originally watched the Criterion DVD it did seem quite bright, and possibly a little 'washed out' with some detail loss. However, the Criterion three disc package is amazing; even at the high price it is an amazing set.

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The Invunche
Alleged Socialist
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:43 am
Location: Denmark

#23 Post by The Invunche » Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:34 pm

King of Kong wrote:Don't you think these 1st/2nd generation Lebanese/Palestinian men should just get on with their lives, or take responsibility for their actions?
Growing up in a refugee camp where you sleep under the mattress every night for added protection against Israeli shells tend to mess people up. It's not only in Sydney and Paris these young men cause trouble today. We have our share of traumatized Lebanese-Palestinian youths here in Denmark as well.

Sorry for rehashing this.

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King of Kong
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:32 pm
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#24 Post by King of Kong » Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:34 pm

The Invunche wrote:Growing up in a refugee camp where you sleep under the mattress every night for added protection against Israeli shells tend to mess people up. It's not only in Sydney and Paris these young men cause trouble today. We have our share of traumatized Lebanese-Palestinian youths here in Denmark as well.
OK, I appreciate that these youths might feel traumatised by their experiences but I believe they should make something of their lives instead of nursing a victim mentality all their lives. For example, many other refugees the world over have picked themselves up after their traumatic experiences and achieved success in their adopted countries - sure they feel resentful for the hard deal they have been done, but try to get by and start new lives regardless.

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david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#25 Post by david hare » Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:32 am

That's an admirable ideal, and I feel sure most displaced Lebanese/Palestinians (and Iraquis?) have made the best of it. But none of this excuses the damage done. All this in the light of the imminent passing of another war criminal, Sharon, with all the attendant, nauseating hagiography in the garbage media.

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