The Battle of Algiers: Frantz Vannon On Violence

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Frantz Fannon in his 1961 book critically examines the nature of violence from a historical perspective in terms of colonization and decolonization. The author argues out that the colonist fabricated the colonized and continues doing so. He also asserts that decolonization is a vehicle for total and complete chaos. Colonization happened through violence or threat of violence- colonization basically applies the principle of submit or die and so because the colonist has better weapons should it come to violence he wins the violent confrontation (battle or war). Once the colonized is under the rule of the colonist he or she submits to all the whims of the latter.

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Decolonization according to Fannon is akin to upsetting the set-up. The ruled become the rulers, the oppressed have the power of giving back the favour. The colonized world has systems in place and uses the police and military system to keep order in check. Reason being that colonization is all about violence and threat of the same. The colonists create boundaries between the natives and themselves, equality becomes a high-value commodity one that is unavailable to the colonized. As a result the colonized always feels jealous of the colonist. Every colonized man has at least once in their lives thought of taking the place of the colonist. However, all this is the colonists doing.

Decolonization comes out the perception of the colonized that their world is fundamentally different from the colonists and that is why the latter came to their world in the first place. The colonist is Manichean in his agenda and methods- seeking total and complete domination of the subject. Once the colonized realises for a fact that the colonist will do anything to make sure that there is no bridging the divide- whether by getting rich, intermarrying, getting and education and so on, then the former may take up arms to rectify the situation. Colonization came out of violence and so it is only logical that decolonization would come from the same tool; violence.

Eric Braitbarts The Invisible Prison: Representing Algiers on Film

In this article the author examines the effect of motion pictures in our lives- specifically the entrapping nature of films. Movies have the power to alter reality by the fact that on screen they appear real and they linger in our minds, more times than not affecting our thoughts, speech and actions. Watching a movie is not like watching a game where your view does not in any way influence the game; movies are made with a purpose to predict human emotions and either make them right, wrong, surprising, foolish or whatever depending on the direction the movie takes. In essence movies are fictional realities which we are eager to escape to.

Cameras, light, action! This phrase is a show of how films are selective. Rather than present issues from a neutral perspective, there is dominance and inferiority in the way themes, characters, situations and so on are portrayed in the big screen. Cities in particular are changed by the movies which capture them in location. Algiers is the capital city of Algeria and up till 1967 when the film The Battle of Algiers came out it was generally unperceived by the audience. The film opens with a close-up of The Casbah region of Algiers where a revolution is brimming. The police headquarters in Algeria is another location showed in the black and white film. In two shots of different locations, the conflict in the film is fundamentally covered- it is the native Algerian nationalists versus the French counter-insurgence. In the film, The Casbah is portrayed to be a detached place, not even the police will go there. Essentially, the Casbah is another world all by itself; it is unhygienic, overcrowded and occupied by both native Algerians and French settlers.

The battle of Algiers was recorded on news reel and accompanied by a documentary-like narration. The viewers perception of the movie was that it was real even though a lot of the elements were fictionalized. It won many awards because of its realistic depiction of events and would in a big way influence the future of the Algerian film scene.

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