Guy Austin
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The war of liberation on screen
Trauma, history, myth
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The Algerian film industry was nationalised as early as August 1964, and soon became aligned with the FLN's mythologising cultural policy. Two films in particular show an engagement with the trauma of the war while at the same time refusing to demonise the French or to oversimplify the representation of Algerian identity. It is in fact characteristic of La Bataille d'Alger to create an iconography of trauma from allusions to sacred martyrdom (with Christian overtones, presumably due to Pontecorvo's and Solinas's cultural background) combined with echoes of Italian neorealism and of contemporary still images from the Algerian war. Following on from the critical success of pioneering films about the war such as La Bataille d'Alger and Le Vent des Aures, the cinema moudjahid of the late 1960s rapidly mythologised and ossified the representation of the liberation struggle.

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