The Battle of Algiers
Film Screening & Discussion
Join us for a special screening of The Battle of Algiers followed by a discussion with Sohail Daulatzai, author of a new book on the legacy of the film and its enduring relevance.
The Battle of Algiers, (1966) poetically captures Algerian resistance to French colonial occupation, is widely considered one of the greatest political films of all time. In his new book Fifty Years of the Battle of Algiers, Sohail Daulatzai argues that the Battle of Algiers is still being waged, as the ‘War on Terror’ intensifies and police powers proliferate from Gaza to Ferguson to Ayotzinapa and beyond.
Describing the production history of the film and the political context of Third World decolonization in which it emerged, Sohail Daulatzai explores how the film was banned in several countries and how it went on to be embraced across the political spectrum. It has been a source of inspiration from leftist groups like the Black Panther Party, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the rock group Rage Against the Machine. It has also been used as a training manual for counterinsurgency by right-wing juntas in South America in the 1970s, to the Israeli military, and later, the U.S. Pentagon in 2003.
Daulatzai reveals how The Battle of Algiers is more than an artefact of the past—it’s a prophetic testament to the present and a cautionary tale of an imperial future, as perpetual war has been declared on permanent unrest.
Sohail Daulatzai works across multiple media, including scholarship, film/video, sound, and the curatorial. He is the author of Fifty Years of “The Battle of Algiers”: Past as Prologue, as well as Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America. He curated the celebrated exhibit Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop and is editor of the companion exhibition catalog. He also curated Histories Absolved: Revolutionary Cuban Poster Art and the Muslim International and wrote liner notes for the Sony Legacy Recordings Release of the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set of Rage Against the Machine’s self titled debut album. He is also the founder of Groundings, a conversation series featuring Yasiin Bey, Chuck D, Amy Goodman, Brother Ali, Immortal Technique, dream hampton, and Robin Kelley, amongst others. He teaches in Film and Media Studies, African American Studies, and Global Middle East Studies at the University of California, Irvine. More of his work can be found at www.openedveins.com.