Sunday, 21 February 2016



FILM 1477: THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS 

TRIVIA: This film was very rarely shown in France until recently, and the torture scenes were cut in the US and UK.

The only film in Oscar history to be a nominee in two separate non-consecutive years. It was a foreign film nominee for 1966, and then a nominee for screenplay and direction for 1968.

Director Gillo Pontecorvo and composer Ennio Morricone had regular disagreements over the movie's score. At one point, Pontecorvo had a melody stuck in his mind which he desperately wanted as a theme in the movie. He went to Morricone's apartment to play it for him, and hummed the tune all the way up to the top floor. Then Morricone asked him to wait with the tune, since he had conceived a melody of his own. To Pontecorvo's surprise, the tune was exactly the same as the one he had in mind, and he was delighted to find out that after all those months of struggling, they had finally found something, separate from each other, on which they could agree. It wasn't until months later at the Venice film festival that Morricone admitted that he had pulled a prank on him; he had already heard Pontecorvo humming the song while coming up the stairs, and decided to pretend he had come up with the same melody himself.

In 2003, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon screened this film for officers and civilian experts who were discussing the challenges faced by the US military forces in Iraq. The flier inviting guests to the screening read: "How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas".

The movie is famous for using almost only non-professional actors, who were chosen primarily for their resemblance to the people they play, acting skills being secondary. Director Gillo Pontecorvo got the performances he wanted from them by careful lighting, adequate staging and skillful directing.



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