The Battle for Algiers

I rented the Battle of Algiers and was struck by the richness of the black and white cinematography. There was one particular scene that really captivated me. The Algerians were killing police officers and in retaliation, the French blew up a section of the Casbah in Algiers. Here is a screen capture from that sequence of community members pulling the dead and wounded out of the rubble.screen_grab_battle_algiers

I was struck by how familiar this still shot from the movie was to me. Why did it resonate so deeply? As I thought about it, two other war images came to mind. The first is a picture of a wounded marine in Vietnam by Larry Burrows.

The second, and probably most like the screen capture is the image by James Nachtwey of a fatally wounded Nicaraguan being carried by his fellow soldiers. While the film looks like it contains newsreel footage from the events in Algiers, it was entirely created by the director and cinematographer.JN0034DOW

Apparently this film was screened at the Pentagon in 2003 as a “useful illustration of the problems faced in Iraq“.