Guy Austin
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An introduction to modern Algerian history and politics
in Algerian national cinema
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Algeria combines an ancient Berber culture with the historical influence of diverse invasions and colonial occupations. An attempt to wrest Algerian identity away from colonial constructions, as well as a mythologising of lost national unity, is central to much Algerian cinema. Modern Algeria is however officially an Islamic state and its national language is Arabic: both legacies of the Arab invasion that began in 647. The Algerian war or Algerian revolution began with an insurrection in the Aurès mountains in the east of the country on 1 November 1954. Forced by the French into internment camps, or fleeing to slums on the edge of the northern cities, Algerians were systematically cut off from their family networks and their larger clan or tribal connections. Under Boumediene, the influence of the military on the Algerian state only increased: 'A partner in 1962, the army was now the arbiter of Algerian politics'.

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