The Battle of Justification


The Battle of Algiers, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo is a moving film about the Algerian War. It tells the story of the FLN and their battle for independence from France. One thing that is particularly interesting about this film is that Pontecorvo attempted to create the film so that there was an objective point of view. The audience sympathizes with both the French and the Algerians because each side finds a way to justify their violent actions based on the actions of their opponent. Eventually, the audience may think that violence all together is not justifiable. This situation is very similar to the situation the United States is facing today. We are currently at war with the Middle East due to several terrorist attacks. While some of the Middle East terrorist attacks are at a much larger scale, such as the attack of 9/11, the smaller attacks are very similar to those seen in The Battle of Algiers. In 1993, there was a bomb placed in a truck in NYC that went off, which is similar to the bombs the women would put in places such as the café or the disco. All are common places that innocent people frequently go to. The terrorists in the Middle East also employ their women in bombing as has been seen through many suicide bombers. The Battle of Algiers, is a valuable movie for the current situation because it provides prospective from both the terrorist side and the French Military side. Through this prospective, we can gather insight as to what it is each side wants and potentially take this knowledge and apply it to handling the current situation differently. In fact, The Battle of Algiers was played at the Pentagon as resource in how to assess the situation with the Middle East. A lot of terrorism and warfare is controversial. People have a hard time finding a way to justify violence at all. The war in the Middle East is greatly debated as to if it should have ever happened. There is one scene when a reporter questions Colonel Mathew about the actions of the military and the message of his response was basically, you have to do what you have to do. He essentially said if we (the French) want to stay in Algeria we have to fight. Similarly, if the United States wants to protect itself from further attacks from the Middle East, we must fight to protect ourselves.


One thought on “The Battle of Justification

  1. core152eblakewaywebb says:

    I think your summary of the importance even today of The Battle of Algiers is extremely well put. I agree with you that the way in which Pontecorvo attempted to make the film objectively allows it to still remain significant and even helpful as it tries to show the tactics of both sides evenly. By doing so, Pontecorvo made the film more trustworthy, and the renditions of the tactics of both the FLN and the French more reliable. I agree with you that the ideas present in the film ring very similar to some of the ideas that were floated around the United States post 9/11. Just as Pontecorvo attempted to show the struggles on both the French and the FLN sides of the conflict, there were many Americans who held different beliefs on the ways in which to react to the terrorist attack on 9/11. In this way I think Pontecorvo’s film relates strongly to the ways in which the United States tried to respond to the terrorist attacks in 2001, as there were some who tried to avoid violence, and others who believed that any means necessary to defeat the enemy must be used. Because of this I agree with you when you show the similarities between the film and modern day beliefs. I think this film could help the arguments of both sides of the conflict today, of whether or not force was necessary in response to the attacks because of Pontecorvo’s attempts to reveal the struggles of both sides.


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