The Algerian War of Independence: Cinema as History

January 18–February 26, 2023

Over the course of the six decades since the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62), filmmakers have reacted to the history of this revolutionary period with powerful responses and insightful perspectives. This selection of films deal with the backstory and history of the Algerian War of Independence from a variety of perspectives.

Read full description
  • The Battle of Algiers

  • Chronicle of the Years of Embers

  • Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask

  • Le petit soldat

  • October 17, 1961

  • Caché

  • The Undeclared War

  • Upcoming
    Films
  • Past
    Films
  • Past
    Events

Upcoming Films

  • Chronicle of the Years of Embers

    Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina
    Algeria, 1975

    Digital Restoration

    • Wednesday, January 18 7 PM
    Introduced by Soraya Tlatli

    An Algerian farmer lives through drought, colonial injustice, and the dawn of independence in this astounding combination of African revolutionary fervor, Bollywood-style pulp, and Cinemascope beauty. “The most magnificent film to ever come from the Third World” (Albert Johnson).

    View Details
  • The Battle of Algiers

    Gillo Pontecorvo
    Italy, 1966
    • Thursday, January 19 7 PM

    One of the best films on revolution ever made, Pontecorvo’s agit-prop classic concerns Algeria’s struggle for independence against its French overlords. “A masterpiece! Surely the most harrowing political epic ever” (New Yorker).

    View Details
  • The Olive Trees of Justice

    James Blue
    France, 1962

    Digital Restoration

    • Thursday, January 26 7 PM

    Blue tells a powerful story of common people living and struggling in their daily lives, while providing a valuable testimony to the complexity of the Algerian struggle for independence. “A neorealist take on the Algerian War made with nonprofessional actors is newly restored and still resonates today” (J. Hoberman, New York Times).

    View Details
  • Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask

    Isaac Julien
    United Kingdom, 1995
    • Thursday, February 2 7 PM
    Isaac Julien and Mark Nash in Person

    Combining archival footage, interviews with experts, and stark depictions of the Algerian revolution from The Battle of Algiers with dramatized tableaux to extend theorist Frantz Fanon’s challenge to people of all races, director Julien creates an intellectually provocative portrait of Fanon.

    View Details
  • October 17, 1961

    Alain Tasma
    France, 2005
    • Friday, February 10 7 PM

    Inspired by the fiction/documentary blends of such socially committed British filmmakers as Alan Clarke and Ken Loach, and by the incendiary force of The Battle of Algiers, director Tasma reimagines an event that has been shamefully ignored in France’s textbooks, but whose scars still linger.

    View Details
  • In Mansourah, You Separated Us

    Dorothée-Myriam Kellou
    Algeria, France, 2019
    • Sunday, February 12 4 PM

    French filmmaker Kellou accompanies her father, Malek, on his return home to the village of Mansourah, Algeria, for the first time since his childhood. Mansourah was one of thousands of communities turned into resettlement camps by the French military. With Drowning by Bullets, which reveals a story that quickly died, suppressed by the French government and a complicit press.

    View Details
  • Le petit soldat

    Jean-Luc Godard
    France, 1963
    • Friday, February 17 7 PM

    While it deflates the thriller genre with all manner of narrative diversions, Le petit soldat was banned for three years in France for deflating another type of fiction: the myth of French antiterrorist heroism in general, and in particular the idea that antiterrorist groups were “above” using torture.

    View Details
  • Algeria, Year Zero

    Marceline Loridan-Ivens, Jean-Pierre Sergent
    France, 1962
    • Sunday, February 19 5 PM

    The groundbreaking documentary Algeria, Year Zero, filmed just months after the end of the war, was initially censored in both Algeria and France. With two rare short films, I Am Eight Years Old, which reveals the effects of the war on refugee children, and Algeria in Flames, wartime footage from the National Liberation Army’s perspective.

    View Details
  • Caché

    Michael Haneke
    France, Austria, Germany, Italy, 2005
    • Friday, February 24 7 PM

    “The mystery behind a series of anonymous videotapes that appear on the doorstep of a middle class Parisian family gradually turns into a metaphor about the First World’s fear of violence it has itself created and then repressed from consciousness” (Deborah Young, Variety).

    View Details
  • The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetting

    Assia Djebar
    Algeria, 1982
    • Saturday, February 25 4:30 PM
    Introduce by Soraya Tlatli

    Algerian novelist and filmmaker Djebar’s experimental The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetting reinterprets French colonial newsreel footage from the period 1912–42, giving voice to those who were once silenced. With The Women, a testament to the call for women’s emancipation in Algeria.

    View Details
  • The Undeclared War

    Bertrand Tavernier
    France, 1992

    Digital Restoration

    • Sunday, February 26 1:30 PM

    Assembled from fifty hours of footage, the film focuses on twenty-eight veterans—all conscripts and of every shade of political conviction. The film’s remarkable power and universality lies in the human dimension of these veterans, as they bring the events of the past to life with searing and enlightening honesty.

    View Details