Kevin resourceful, dedicated, and persistent. In a nonbiased documentary

Kevin
Dufauchard

Professor
Mulot

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GS399:
Contemporary France

January
16, 2018

Film Review: The Battle of Algiers

 

Throughout
the film, the FLN (National Liberation Front) proved to be dedicated to
exhibiting resistance to French colonialism through a variety of political and violent
means. The FLN targets French policeman and paratroopers by means of guerilla
warfare. The group was resourceful, dedicated, and persistent. In a nonbiased
documentary style film of The Battle of Algiers, it is difficult not to side
with FLN movement, despite questioning some methods and tactics used during the
war.

The leadership of the FLN shows skepticism
and intelligence when regarding new FLN recruits. They reveal carefully
developed plans to initiate members into the FLN, using caution when deciding
who to trust. This is evident through the mission given to Ali La Pointe by the
FLN. He is tasked with shooting a French policeman, ensuring that he is indeed
committed to the cause and willing to endure consequences and sacrifice for the
needs of the FLN. After attempting to murder the French officer, Ali La Pointe realizes
the weapon given to him only shot blanks; therefore, nothing happens when Ali
pulls the trigger directed towards the officer. Through this, the FLN is able
to confirm Ali’s loyalty to the FLN while retaining him from incarceration. The
FLN was highly strategical in their methods and moved cautiously in their endeavors.

 

The
FLN showed signs of resilience when overcoming barriers enforced by the French
authorities. The group showed intellect and persistence through the stash and
grab type method when committing attacks against French authorities. Weapons
were placed in FLN known locations to avoid being caught during a potential
search or pat down. This allowed members to quickly retrieve a weapon when
needed, use it, replace it, and flee the scene in seconds without authorities
or witnesses seeing the culprit.

Colonel Mathieu leads the paratroopers
which the French government uses to eradicate the Algerian rebellion. Mathieu
is tasked with controlling the Algerian environment. He is a stern leader,
exhibiting little emotion and respected by his subordinates. Colonel Mathieu’s
character is used as a balance against the Algerian nationalists, his actions
embodies and represents the French perspective. His primary goal is victory.

            Colonel Mathieu provides a new
challenge for the FLN group. The addition of paratroopers targeted specifically
towards Algerian terrorism indicates how much ground the FLN has covered. The
French government is giving the FLN more attention by adding additional resources
into the mix. Through Mathieu, the audience is able to see into France’s logic
and the logic behind their methods, including their justifications for torture.
This is evident in the cross examination scene done to Colonel Mathieu by the
journalists. He emphasizes the consensus in eliminating the FLN rebellion and
highlights their terrorist actions. He communicates to the journalists about
the primary internal struggle between France and the FLN, which is France’s
occupation of Algeria.

            Women were used to the advantage of
the FLN warfare in the film. Prior to the scene preparing the three woman with
bombs, FLN leader Jafar acknowledges a French bombing in the Casbah but prevent
the Algerian people from reacting. He informs them that the FLN will avenge the
actions of the French. The plan is to use women to bomb the European areas,

The women wore makeup and European
clothing to pass for Europeans. As they modify their appearances to European
styles, a fast paced drum beats in the background, indicating the tension and chaotic
atmosphere. Ali La Pointe and Jafar review the women’s appearance and gives the
go ahead, after Ali suggests the third woman go to a specific checkpoint, one
which he believes will be easier to pass through.

The audience receives insight into French
culture and beliefs regarding women through this cut. Women were not seen as
capable of committing such heinous acts. At the checkpoints, the women were
able to pass through without hesitation. Instead of close examination at the
search point, the women were flirted with by French soldiers. This paved the
way for the women to successfully bomb each of their assigned areas.

Although this show’s French negligence
when regarding women, it simultaneously highlights the FLN’s willingness to
utilize all resources available while fighting against the French. The FLN and
women were willing to use the feminine aspects of the women to aid in their
campaign. Additionally, the personal sacrifices these women were willing to
take on behalf of the FLN exhibits the unity and commitment from all members of
the FLN, regardless of sex. The fearlessness displayed by the women during
these scenes characterized Algerian women of the time, whereas the innocence
assumed is directed toward women of the time in general.

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