November 1, 1954, in North Africa, Algerian nationalists began their successful 8-year rebellion against French rule, a period that’s realistically and rivetingly documented in Gillo Pontecorvo’s landmark 1966 film, The Battle Of Algiers – a film we’ve talked about previously on this blog, and strongly recommend you see NOW if you haven’t already! Netflix has it both on DVD (the Criterion Collection 3-disc set, which is loaded with very informative extra features), and as an instant streaming feature, just a few clicks away; Take your pick…
Or… maybe you’d like to wait 3 months when a film that’s considered one of the most influential in the history of cinema, shot in documentary-style on location, on the streets of Algiers, is finally released in high-definition, on Blu-ray, this August.
That’s right, Criterion Collection is planning to bring The Battle of Algiers to Blu-ray on August 9.
The two-disc set, featuring 1080p video, and an uncompressed mono soundtrack, will contain several extra features, most of which are on the current DVD version.
Those supplements include Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said; Marxist Poetry: The Making of “The Battle of Algiers, a documentary featuring interviews with Pontecorvo, composer Ennio Morricone, and others; Interviews with Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone on the film’s influence, style, and importance; Remembering History, a documentary reconstructing the Algerian experience of the battle for independence; États d’armes, a documentary featuring senior French military officers recalling the use of torture and execution to combat the Algerian rebellion; The Battle of Algiers: A Case Study, a documentary featuring U.S. counter-terrorism experts; Gillo Pontecorvo’s Return to Algiers, a documentary in which the filmmaker revisits the country after three decades of independence; a production gallery; theatrical and re-release trailers; and a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, excerpts from Algeria’s National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef’s original account of his arrest, excerpts from the film’s screenplay, a reprinted interview with co-writer Franco Solinas, and biographical sketches of key figures in the French-Algerian War.
Pheeewww! Got all that? :)
And how much will this cost you? Suggested list price for the Blu-ray is $49.95. Not bad at all says I. I’ve seen the film many times, but never on the big screen, and definitely not in hi-def. And now that I have my large flat screen HDTV, and a Blu-ray player, I’m seriously considering picking up a copy for myself.
You can preorder right now on Amazon.com for $15 less, at $34.99. Do so HERE.