Filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo’s dramatization of the Algerian war of independence against its French colonizers, circa 1954-1962, is a cinematic stick of dynamite. The cast is almost totally non-professional, and includes former revolutionary Saadi Yacef, essentially playing himself as the FLN leader. It’s shot on location in the labyrinthine Casbah of Algiers, in grainy black and white with jumpy editing, to imitate a newsreel. Superb music score by Ennio Morricone and director Pontecorvo. Inspired by Roberto Rossellini’s Paisá and in turn an inspiration for Constantin Costa-Gavras, Oliver Stone, et al. But all those credits fade into the background when the bombs begin to blast and the people fill the streets. Now in a 4K digital restoration, it leaps from the screen with an urgency that still thrills today, after decades of violent spectacles. Written by Pontecorvo and Franco Solinas (123 min.).
Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
Writer: Franco Solinas and Gillo Pontecorvo
Producer: Antonio Musu
Cast: Brahim Haggiag, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Samia Kerbash and Ugo Paletti