Marc Lafia and Fang-Yu Lin's The Battle of Algiers recomposes scenes from the 1965 film of the same name by Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo. The original film is a reenactment of the Algerian nationalist struggle leading to independence from France in 1962. The success of the actual battle for independence has been attributed to the nationalists’ organization: a pyramidal structure of self-organized cells. Lafia and Lin recomposed the film along a cell-based structure, in which French Authority and the Algerian Nationalist cells are represented by stills from the film and move according to different rule sets. When cells of different camps intersect, they trigger video cells displaying each side’s tactics (as depicted in the film) according to the rules of the system.
Tracing the struggle of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale to gain freedom from French colonial rule as seen through the eyes of Ali from his start as a petty thief to his rise to prominence in the organisation and capture by the French in 1957. The film traces the rebels' struggle and the increasingly extreme measures taken by the French government to quell the revolt.
The Battle of Algiers is one of the most critically celebrated films of all time. Made in 1966 it documented Algeria's war for independence. Returning to the roots of the production and the personalities involved, this documentary explores what made The Battle of Algiers so profound and also some of the controversies.