Today in history, July 3, 1962, Algeria gains independence from French rule after a successful 8-year rebellion against the French – a period that’s realistically and rivetingly documented in Gillo Pontecorvo’s landmark 1966 film, Battle Of Algiers; a film we’ve mentioned a number of times previously on this site, and continue to do so.
If you still haven’t seen it, it’s strongly recommend you do so NOW.
And if you do, may I suggest you pick up the Criterion Blu-ray release, which finally made it to retailers last August.
The two-disc set, featuring 1080p video, and an uncompressed mono soundtrack, contains 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.
It’s explosive trailer follows below: