Film Review; The Battle of Algiers and the World
Prompt 3: Battle of Algiers and Return to Algiers
Your assignment is to respond to four of the questions below. This is not an essay assignment. All you need to do is respond in a paragraph (~200 words) to four questions below (total ~800-1000 words). Each response should refer to specific scenes in the two films and ideas or events discussed in lecture or readings. (You do NOT need to cite readings.) You do NOT need to compose an essay. Just answer the questions thoughtfully. You will be graded based on the depth of your response. Shallow answers will receive partial credit; deep answers that reflect careful reading will receive full credit.
The Battle of Algiers and the World
Answer two of the following questions. In your answer, compare scenes or events in the 1966 feature film The Battle of Algiers with references to actual events and ideas discussed in lecture or assigned readings.
1.Women play important roles in The Battle of Algiers. Discuss how their roles in the film compare with women’s participation in other struggles of national liberation.
2.The film mentions the United Nations and the importance of global opinion (“international machinery”) for the liberation struggle. What were the tactics of the FLN (Front Liberation National) with respect to reaching a global audience? How did their campaigns to gain global support compare with similar campaigns elsewhere in the world?
3.Terrorist bombings occur in multiple scenes and places in the film. How and why did the FLN utilize these attacks, and how does the film present the ethics of killing civilians? Compare the use of terrorism here with other examples in modern world history.
4.The Battle of Algiers features extended conversations between Algerians about the ideological nature of the liberation struggle; and many acts of violence in the film reflect actions carried out by Algerians against other Algerians. How do these internal debates exemplify problems raised by Frantz Fanon and other theorists of liberation struggles?
Algiers: Then and Now
Answer two of the following questions. In each answer, compare scenes and events in the 1966 feature film The Battle of Algiers with the 1991 documentary Return to Algiers.
1.Media played an important role in Gillo Pontecarvo’s decision to produce The Battle of Algiers in 1965-66. Media also played an important role in his return to Algiers in 1991, months before a violent civil war broke out. Explain how media—especially radio, loudspeakers, film and television—figure in both the film and the documentary.
2.The densely packed neighborhood of traditional Algiers, the Casbah, was the urban heart of the liberation struggle; it remained a heart of struggle in the 1990s. Comparing the film with the documentary, why was this particular neighborhood a center of political resistance? Did the people from the Casbah gain power after 1962? Why or why not?
3.Economic concerns were central to both the Algerian War (1954–62) and the tensions described in Return to Algiers (1991). Explain.
4.How do the two films portray differences in European and Islamic-Algerian views on modernity and ideal forms of society in Algeria? How have those views, particularly those of Muslims in the Casbah, evolved – at least as depicted by characters in the films? (Note: See Lecture 05 – Jan 20 about Islam and the Middle East.)
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