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'The Battle of Algiers' to Screen at UW-Eau Claire May 4-7

RELEASED: April 25, 2006

Barrle of Algiers posterEAU CLAIRE — "The Battle of Algiers" (1966), one of the most influential political films in history, will screen May 4-7 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Winner of 11 international awards, including the Best Picture Award at the Venice Film Festival, the film will screen at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

"The Battle of Algiers" vividly recreates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafes, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot in the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. The film has astonishing relevance today.

By intercutting intimate scenes of personal dramas with journalistic coverage of mass movement, Pontecorvo expresses a belief that no one's private life is unaffected by the tidal waves of history. He captures the tragic and especially contemporary drama of private ambivalence in the midst of overwhelming political events.

New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther called it "an uncommonly dynamic picture... Most extraordinary and therefore commanding of lasting interest and critical applause is the amazing photographic virtuosity and pictorial conviction of this film. So authentically and naturalistically were its historical reflections staged, with literally thousands of citizens participating, in the streets and buildings of Algiers that it looks beyond any question to be an original documentary film."

In French and Arabic and subtitled in English, the 121-minute black-and-white film is not rated.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby and at the door. The film is sponsored by the International Film Society.

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JS/NW

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