Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

From class and mostly filmed on location.

From 1945 to 1970, certain national cinemas around the globe (France, Italy, Britain, Japan and various Latin American countries in particular) start transcending classical narrative, taking the medium out of its classical era and into its modernist phase. When first released in France, the screening of ‘The Battle of Algiers’ (1966) continued to provoke violent attacks on cinema’s until years later. The political issues addressed by this film are varied and are universal. It is a film that builds on the events which took place in Algeria between the years of 1954-1962, yet focuses on the act of terrorism as a method of war. It also explores the issues of imperialism and colonization and the continuous struggle of people to achieve freedom and independence. Pontecorvo uses specific techniques such as the role of ‘point of view’. These methods originate from traditions of italian neorealism and third cinema such as using an unknown actors characterized by stories set amongst the poor and the working class and mostly filmed on location. This gives off an extremely realistic portrayal of the events that happened within the Algerian war but creates a unbiased representation from both sides of the war. Within the bomb scenes, we as a spectator follow the journey of three Algerian woman who commit acts of terrorism for the FLN. The location in which the scene starts is in a hidden, dark back room. We observe the three women pick up a displossives and make there way into the town center. A mid- shot is shown of the woman sat down at a local bar, as she looks around, the shot zoom’s progressively onto the actors face as we see her observe the surrounding innocent people. Pontecorvo uses a series of fast paced close ups of individual characters to create sympathy. We see a variety of different french people interacting and conversing then shot of a close up of a young boy, eating an ice cream within the cafe. Ironically, we as an audience know that in short time, these people will be brutally killed but the use of point of view evokes ideas around the continual problem of whether the film presents a balanced political stance. Showing the shot of the young boy emphasizes the brutal and unsensitive nature of the act of war. ‘Steven Soderbergh’ in ‘Five Directors on The Battle of Algiers (2004)’ describes how it is also up to the ‘audience to decide’ whether such devastation and destruction was really necessary in the struggle for independence. In reality, we as an audience lean more with the Algerians as we are put into their perspective.Vann argues that the film “uses an intense and gritty realism to depict the tragic history of a central phase in the struggle for decolonization and national liberation” this allows the spectator to more fully comprehend the horrors of what went on and we start to realise their lives have been turned upside down by the French invasion.Even though female protagonists only have 15 minutes worth of screen time, the role of women has a huge impact on my specific chosen scene. ‘Algeria Unveiled’ by Franz Fanon, looks specifically how the veil is presented and worn by Algerian women in the film. This plays a huge motif within the revolution, as they are using it as a tool of resistance against the French. One way Fanon suggests that the veil acts as a symbolisation against the colonists, the women wearing it become the face of resistance. Within the bomb scene the women are being used to fit into the contrast of french culture as a disguise. Although it is assumed this is what they want to do, the close-up of the child in the cafe plays on the woman’s maternal instincts to not plant the bomb, which could be suggesting that she is being forced to do so.This links with Fanon’s article, “having been accustomed to confident, her body did not have the normal mobility before a limitless horizon of avenues”. The women in Algeria and indeed in the film, have had their lives disrupted and have been brought into the forefront of the revolution. Pontecorvo represents the contextually relevant social issue of the abuse of power and the struggles these protagonists go through under the strict authority of stronger forces such as the French police. This is represented through the use of cinematography and editing as Pontecorvo solves the problem of reconciling Hollywood drama with naturalism and a documentary style. “Third cinema continues today to challenge conventions of crafting films. Using techniques such as hand held camera and no extra lighting, similar to real life.” This is evident when we see the destination of the explosives. We as the audience are always positioned within the victims situation. We experience the devastating series of events first hand as we a see multiple shots of the explosion. This is a contrast to Hollywood’s smooth ‘continuity editing’. The shots are placed together to emphasise their difference, their discontinuity. In conclusion, Third Cinema can still be an exciting and challenging mode of film making, with a concept that challenges the idea of how films should be made, along with how it should be perceived by the audience; the spectator should not leave having the opinion that it was dull but should be


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