The Theme of Time in The Battle of Algiers

The Theme of Time in The Battle of Algiers

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Time marches on, as they are saying.

By Meg Shields · Revealed on August third, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your every day distraction of curated video content material sourced from throughout the online. At present, we’re watching a video essay that appears on the chronological interaction within the 1966 movie The Battle of Algiers.


Launched in August on the Venice Movie Pageant — at which it gained the Golden Lion — The Battle of Algiers is among the best political movies ever made. Largely impressed by Saadi Yacef’s 1962 movie Souvenirs de la Bataille D’Alger, Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 movie dramatizes the brutal, dramatic, and infrequently difficult-to-watch key occasions that passed off between 1956 and 1957 throughout the broader struggle for Algerian independence from French colonial rule. Adopting a documentary format, made all of the extra visceral by taking pictures on-location the place the injuries of French rule had been nonetheless recent, the movie particulars quite a few aggressions from each side of the battle: horrifying bombs, inhumane torture, and mass civilian casualties.

It’s, like all the finest struggle movies, firmly anti-war, with a central argument that armed battle is a toxin that harms and mutilates everybody who participates in it, or has the misfortune of being within the warpath. It’s a movie of astonishing relevance, And its confrontational candor has misplaced none of its energy within the intervening years since its launch (what, in spite of everything, could possibly be extra confrontational than youngsters taking pictures troopers at point-blank vary?).

Because the video essay beneath notes, one of many key muscular tissues The Battle of Algiers depends on is its fixed sense of time and temporality. There are prologues, flashbacks, and codas: incessant reminders of each historic time, mundanity, acceleration, and literal ticking clocks, set to gentle literal fuses. Wordless and frantic, the video essay does a superb job conveying not solely the place this theme performs out in Pontecorvo’s movie however the way it feels.

Watch “Occupying Time: The Battle of Algiers”:


Who made this?

This video essay on how temporalities play out in The Battle of Algiers is by OuScholPo, a Denmark-based artistic-academic partnership between Marie Hallager Andersen and Alan O’Leary. This essay is by O’Leary and was revealed in [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Movie & Transferring Picture Research, 6:3 2019. You’ll be able to try OuScholPo’s Vimeo account right here.

Extra movies like this

  • Right here’s Alan O’Leary presenting his ebook on The Battle of Algiers, which you need to completely try in case you’re a fan of the movie, the above video essay, or each!
  • Christopher Nolan is a director famously obsessive about temporalities and storytelling that comes with and fixates on time. Right here’s StudioBinder with a video essay on how this dominant motif performs out within the director’s work.
  • And at last, right here’s the at all times eloquent Nerdwriter1 with a extra private take a look at how Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky’s idea of time turned extra significant within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Associated Matters: The Queue

Meg Shields is the common-or-garden farm boy of your desires and a senior contributor at Movie Faculty Rejects. She at the moment runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How’d They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She can be a curator for One Excellent Shot and a contract author for rent. Meg might be discovered screaming about John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ on Twitter right here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).

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