RIP: Gillo Pontecorvo

Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo, who directed The Battle of Algiers, has passed on, aged 86. The photo below is from the scene in which Colonel Mathieu enters the city with his troops, in order to quell the rebellion. (In real life, the actor Jean Martin staunchly opposed French occupation of Algeria. )

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Below is another photo from the film, from a scene where four independence militants are trapped in the casbah. All the actors in the film, with the exception of Martin, were non-professionals. To the right is Brahim Hadjiadj, who plays the role of Ali la Pointe.

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When it was released in 1965, the film was banned in France, and several theatres that showed it in Europe were bombed. But the film survived, of course, and has become a classic. Last year, the Criteron Collection released a boxed set of the film, which includes many extras and commentary, by the likes of Mira Nair, Spike Lee, and Julian Schnabel. Pontecorvo will be sorely missed, and I can only hope that the rumors of a Hollywood remake are false.

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