The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war film co-written and directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring Jean Martin and Saadi Yacef. It is based on events by rebels during the Algerian War (1954–62) against the French government in North Africa; the most prominent being the titular Battle of Algiers, the capital of Algeria. It was shot on location and the film's score was composed by Ennio Morricone.
The film concentrates on the years between 1954 and 1957 when guerrilla fighters regrouped and expanded into the Casbah, the citadel of Algiers. Their actions were met by French paratroopers attempting to regain territory. The highly dramatic film is about the organization of a guerrilla movement and the illegal methods, such as torture, used by the colonial power to contain it. Algeria succeeded in gaining independence from the French, which Pontecorvo addresses in the film's epilogue.
A subject of socio-political controversy, the film was not screened for five years in France; it was released in 1971.
The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for three Academy Awards (in non-consecutive years), including Best Foreign Language Film in 1967; and Best Screenplay (Gillo Pontecorvo and Franco Solinas) and Best Director (Gillo Pontecorvo) in 1969.
Original title: La battaglia di Algeri
Algeria / Italy, 1966, 121 min
Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
Screenplay: Franco Solinas
Cinematography by: Marcello Gatti
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Jean Martin, Brahim Hadjadj, Yacef Saadi, Franco Moruzzi, Samia Kerbash, Ugo Paletti
The screening is part of the exhibition Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria.