If people know one film about Algeria, it's Gillo Pontecorvo's indestructible classic The Battle of Algiers. But that film, as great as it is, was made by a European outsider who seemed most preoccupied with the morality of the French occupation of the country. However, Duke's Screen Society will be showing two more recent films about the Algerian revolutionary struggle that were made by Algerians.
This Monday, Sept. 22nd, Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina's Chronicle of the Years of Embers will be video-projected at the Richard White Lecture Hall on Duke's East Campus. We haven't seen the film, but it won the Palme d'Or at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival and it seems reminiscent of the political epics that were commonly made in the 1960s and 70s, such as Bertolucci's 1900 and Visconti's The Leopard. Accordingly, Chronicle is a three-hour epic that concerns the political journey of a peasant who enlists in the resistance movement.
The following Monday, Sept. 29th, a more recent film takes stock of what has and has not changed in the forty years since the War of Independence. Released in 2001, Merzak Allouache's L'Autre Monde (The Other World) tells the story of Yasmine, an Algerian-Frenchwoman who visits her native country for the first time. Accustomed to Western mores, she's in for a bit of a shock as she scours the countryside in search of her lost lover. This one will be shown in 35 mm on Duke's West Campus, in Griffith Theater.
Admission is free for both films, and they begin at 8 p.m. For more information about the Screen Society's fall offerings, go online to www.duke.edu/web/film/screensociety .