The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, October 5-11

Saadi Yacef (second from left) and Brahim Haggiag (right) in Gillo Pontecorvo's THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1966). Courtesy Film Forum. Playing Friday, October 7 - Thursday, October 13. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
Based on the eponymous campaign during the Algerian war, The Battle of Algiers is perhaps best known for its technical aspects, which have been rarely, if ever imitated: the almost universal use of non-actors; the hand-held, documentary-style aesthetic, so convincing that the film ran in America with a disclaimer that “not one foot” of actual war footage was used. But none of this would be nearly as powerful without the tense directorial prowess and incredible vision of Pontecorvo, who fashioned a political portrait of urban warfare so even-handed and influential that it was an inspiration for both 60’s radical groups and Pentagon officials pre-Iraq. The Battle of Algiers is an always-relevant political film, but more than that, it is one of the great works of fiction-as-documentary. Ryan Swen (October 7-13 at Film Forum, showtimes daily)

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