Films and the Algerian Revolution – Part 2
This film screening is part of a larger series of events on Algeria at 60: Images from a Revolution.
Djazaïrouna (Our Algeria) by Djamel Chanderli, Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina and others, 18 min., 1960, Algeria (GPRA)
This montage film was destined to enlighten the international community on the objectives of the Algerian resistance fighters. The footage shot by different filmmakers and operators (René Vautier, Djamel Chanderli…) was edited in Belgrade, in ex-Yugoslavia, because it was impossible to do so in France. Conceived as an anti-colonialist plea, advocating for the struggle for independence of the Algerians, as well as for the FLN and the ALN, it is an effective document to testify to the violence of the colonial order (i.e. the repression, the naplam-burned forests, etc.).
Die Frage (The Question) by Mohand Ali-Yahia, 15 min., 1961, Algeria/GDR
This film shot, shot as a graduation project in 35 mm in black and white, by Algerian filmmaker Mohand Ali-Yahia, then a film student in East Berlin, is the first adaptation of Henri Alleg’s famous memoir The Question, with an appearance by the author at the end of the film. Sequences of repression meant to represent the Battle of Algiers were shot in Berlin, in the former East Germany, and may have inspired Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who had seen this little-known short film before shooting his famous eponymous 1965 feature co-produced by Algeria.
Guns of Freedom (Les Fusils de la Liberté) by Djamel Chanderli and Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina, 27 min., 1961, Algeria (GPRA)
The script of this fiction with allegorical overtones was written by Serge Michel, a French journalist who joined the FLN and the GPRA in Tunis. Les fusils de la liberté (Guns of Freedom) depicts Algerian fighters carrying weapons and ammunition, moving unnoticed among the population in the south of the country. This theme of a “peoples in movement” has been used in several texts and films of the FLN.
I’m eight (J’ai huit ans) by Yann Le Masson and Olga Poliakoff, 10 min., 1961, France
This short film directed by Yann le Masson and Olga Poliakoff (based on an idea of Frantz Fanon) gives voice to Algerian children, war orphans who have taken refuge in Tunisia. They express the shock of war and their sometimes traumatic experience through their drawings, which bear the marks of bombing, combat, resistance and repression. The film was banned for over 10 years in France.