The Battle of Algiers ★★★★½

Despite its frugality of dialogue, the Battle of Algiers overwhelms the viewer with a deafening critique of French colonialism in Algeria. However, Pontecorvo’s genius was in using a specific historical event as a springboard for a wider analysis of the use of violence in politics in general. Though audience sympathy is discreetly channelled towards the FLN, this is not done at the expense of sugar-coating their “outrages”. The film is at its most engrossing – and depressing- when it steps away from such specifics to explore wider themes, such as the all consuming numbness of political oppression and the utter futility of fighting ideas with arms. A deservedly timeless gem.