The Battle of Algiers (Realistic Footage)

After viewing the film I can definitely see how earlier audiences could have believed that this was a documentary and that what they were seeing was truly real. Besides the fact that the camera crew was operating with news reel for filming, everything about the movie looked very real. The fact that they did not concentrate so hard on a single character and rather on a group of people made it seem more realistic because that kept putting the audience in a place where they did not have all the information. There were also many scenes through out the film that were wide general shots and did not focus on a single place but rather a group of people which could easily be mistaken for a camera crew filming regular life in Algiers and not something that was scripted. Most the meetings that Colonel Mathieu held with the rest of his paratroopers looked like a camera placed in the back and filmed the meeting as if the soldiers were being documented, and not a scripted scene. The scene that really must have thrown the audience was surely the entire final scene. In the grand ending, Pontecorvo used actual citizens of Algiers in the riot scenes to reach the maximum realism that could have occurred in the event of an actual riot. The spirit of Algiers that these people portrayed could only be achieved with the effort of actual citizens that have experienced the real event.

One thought on “The Battle of Algiers (Realistic Footage)”

  1. I completely agree with the idea how audiences, both back then and even today, could have believed that this movie was a documentary. Along with the idea that there were no main characters to follow throughout the film, I believe that the final scenes in which the Algerians were roaming the streets made it appear very realistic. The birds eye view Pontecorvo decided to use in that scene almost made it seem like actually footage from the actual Battle of Algiers. Not to mention, the camera also did not focus on a specific person for most of the scene and appeared shaky throughout the scene, making the scene seem even more realistic.

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