Francesca Recchia: Fifty-two years ago Gillo Pontecorvo shot The Battle of Algiers, a revolutionary film that tells the story of the Algerian resistance. The film is a three-year-long flashback reconstructing the initial steps of the liberation movement: from 1957 all the way back to November 1954 when the leaders of the National Liberation Front started gathering people and consensus. The story is narrated from the militants’ point of view and gives a very humane insight into the choices that paved the way to the dramatic, but necessary process of decolonisation.
Five decades later, the film still speaks to the present with immense relevance. The historical terms may have changed, but the substance remains the same. Oppressors, fascisms, colonialisms both past and present reiterate trite arguments to perpetuate their own existence and assert an idea of an immutable past to legitimise their privileges. The benevolent paternalism of power, the infantilisation of the Other, the discrimination on the ground of religion and skin colour survive their own stupidity.
…In response to an unjust and apparently immutable status quo, resistance – in its political, civil, disobedient, armed forms – continues to live and reclaim the right of self-determination, of an equal access to resources, of the possibility of being the author of one’s own history. 1957 Algeria is Palestine during the Intifadas, it is Kashmir in the bloodied summer of 2016, it is the protest of American Indians at Standing Rock. More here.