Q&A with actor, producer and former National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef, whose memoir Souvenirs de la Bataille d'Alger inspired the film! Moderated by NYU professor Robert Stam, author of Flagging Patriotism: Crises of Narcissism and Anti-Americanism.

Please note that the time of this screening has been changed to 7:00pm.

A major achievement in world cinema, as gripping and relevant today (in light of the recent Arab Spring revolutions) as it seemed 44 years ago, director Gillo Pontecorvo's brilliant re-enactment of one of the bloodiest revolts in contemporary history could easily be mistaken for newsreel footage, so powerfully immediate is the camera's participation in apparently actual events. Featuring mostly amateur actors and local crowds, shot in grainy black-and-white, Battle documents both the brutality of the French and the tragedy of terrorist tactics during the brutal war for Algerian liberation that raged between 1954 and 1957. Banned by the French government until 1971, the film won numerous international awards, including the Golden Lion at Venice and Oscar nominations for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film.

“Pontecorvo has found a subject big enough to recreate a neo-realist cinema, but one freed from all propaganda and sentimentality, and newly informed with a kind of irresistible joyousness that sweeps both film and spectator along to the final triumphant sequences of the liberation of the city.” —NYFF5 program note

Co-presented by Warscapes magazine.

Image courtesy of Kobal Collection.

  • Directed By Gillo Pontecorvo
  • 1967
  • Italy/Algeria
  • 35mm
  • 121 minutes