Title

Reflections of Colonialism in Algeria: An Analysis of Four Films

Presenter Information

Jordan Talbot

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 271

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Film, Algeria, Colonialism

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the representation of French-Algerian relations in four French-language films: The Battle of Algiers, Intimate Enemies, Of Gods and Men, and Outside the Law. Each of the films explores the dynamic between the colonial presence of France in Algeria and the native population. The films present fictionalized versions of true events. For example, Outside the Law features the massacre in Sétif, and Of Gods and Men focuses on the events preceding the 1996 kidnapping of seven Trappist monks by violent radicals in Algeria. Representing the military presence of France seems to be the primary concern of each of the filmmakers. Violent images are the central focus, as three of the four films are set during the Algerian War of Independence. The religious presence of French Catholics is represented more extensively in the film Of Gods and Men. Although the filmmakers represent similar eras, each director shows varying levels of sympathy and disdain for the Algerian National Liberation Front, as well as the contemporaneous French government. The films allow the audience to discover a variety of perspectives on a singular moment of history.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Lene Pedersen

Department/Program

Theatre

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology & Museum Studies

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Reflections of Colonialism in Algeria: An Analysis of Four Films

SURC 271

In this paper, I analyze the representation of French-Algerian relations in four French-language films: The Battle of Algiers, Intimate Enemies, Of Gods and Men, and Outside the Law. Each of the films explores the dynamic between the colonial presence of France in Algeria and the native population. The films present fictionalized versions of true events. For example, Outside the Law features the massacre in Sétif, and Of Gods and Men focuses on the events preceding the 1996 kidnapping of seven Trappist monks by violent radicals in Algeria. Representing the military presence of France seems to be the primary concern of each of the filmmakers. Violent images are the central focus, as three of the four films are set during the Algerian War of Independence. The religious presence of French Catholics is represented more extensively in the film Of Gods and Men. Although the filmmakers represent similar eras, each director shows varying levels of sympathy and disdain for the Algerian National Liberation Front, as well as the contemporaneous French government. The films allow the audience to discover a variety of perspectives on a singular moment of history.