Feature film as a historical source. On an example studying of films about history of the Algerian war 1954-1962

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Annotation / Аннотация
This article is devoted to the feature films. The basic problem - can be a feature film a historical source? The author proves that the fiction film in some cases is capable to give to the historian the important information and to show a studied problematic from the new, original party. As an example two feature films are considered. These films connected with history of the Algerian war: “The battle for Algeria” and “Close enemies” («the personal enemy»). These films allow to see in a different way essence of terrorism and other crisis phenomena of ХХ-XXI centuries.
В статье, посвященной игровым фильмам, рассматривается проблема - может ли игровой фильм быть полноценным историческим источником. Автор доказывает, что игровой фильм в ряде случаев способен дать историку важную информацию и показать изучаемую проблематику с новой, оригинальной стороны. В качестве примера рассматриваются два игровых фильма, связанных с историей алжирской войны: «Битва за Алжир» и «Близкие враги» («Личный враг»). Эти фильмы позволяют по иному взглянуть на сущность терроризма и других кризисных явлений ХХ-XXI вв.

Keywords / Ключевые слова
Film dokuments, historical source, feature film, Algerian crisis, Algerian war, “The battle for Algeria”, “Close enemies”, D. Pontecorvo, F. Siri. Кинодокументы, исторический источник, игровой фильм, алжирский кризис, алжирская война, «Битва за Алжир», «Близкие враги», Д. Понтекорво, Ф. Сири.

Crisis in Algeria in 1954-1962 can't be studied without research of film documents. The purpose of this research: to show value of game cinema as a historical source. During an epoch of fight against terrorism films «Fight for Algeria» and «Close enemies» («the Personal enemy») are actual, more than ever. The first tape reflects a sight of terrorists (or fighters for freedom) on a terror problem, well and «Close enemies» - the answer of those who with this terror struggled. Officially Algerian crisis has begun on November, 1st, 1954 and proceeded seven and a half years. War has provoked crisis in mother country. The Algerian problem had for France not smaller value, than for the Algeria. The two-hour film of Italian director Dzhillo Pontekorvo «Fight for Algeria» became Masterpiece. The film structure reminds an epic cloth of the Sicilian mafia. Only feelers of Algerian "octopus" are directed against the Europeans, in any way doing not wish to leave to the France.

Gillo Pontekorvo

The huge quantity of incidental persons gives to «Fight for Algeria» documentation illusion. The director make a film about mania of destruction of people within the limits of civilized city life. The chronicle of terror from time to time finds a shade of a thriller and even "surrealism" in the spirit of Hitchcock. In one of feature films with such documentary accuracy all smallest details of preparation and carrying out of act of terrorism as in «to Fight for Algeria», and it does its by one of the most important and interesting sources of the given work aren't fixed. On September, 10th 1956 10th paraborne division enters into a city under command of colonel Phillip Matyo, and «fight for Algeria» begins. Matyo (Маssyu) takes up all completeness of responsibility for order maintenance in a city by all means. Struggle means - a round-up, a search, interrogation. Interrogation should bring results. Matyo speaks to the subordinates: «I against cruelty, but in the present state of affairs false humanity am ridiculous!». The press conference of colonel Matyo based on real words of Jacque Massyu which are said as though yesterday is curious: «Terror concerns revolt, as guerrilla struggle to regular war. She solves all. As in Indochina. But there they have won. The victory depends on you, journalists. You should write well. Explain, why all Sartres are born on that party of barricades?»

"Fight for Algeria"

Press conferences of the colonel alternate with shots of tortures of the terrorist under loud music. Ben-Midi, the terrorist, have been arrested. On March, 4th, 1957 It and colonel Matyo gives press conference to the French journalists. Press conference is recreated with documentary accuracy. After press conference arrested person Ben-Midi became more dangerous, than before arrest. It was necessary not to admit public litigation over it, and it, under the official version, "has committed suicide". Long time its destiny has been covered by a privacy veil, and only after interview of general Ossaresa and issue of its book, business of Larbi Ben-Midi has cleared up. As confirms Ossares in interview to the newspaper "Mond", Massyu attached to a staff judge Berar who was carrying out a role of the actual emissary of Paris and, in particular, of the Minister of Justice (those years Fran?ois Mitterand was it), has started with it conversation that Ben Mhidi quite could commit suicide: «it after all can have a capsule not found at arrest with potassium cyanide».

Shots from a film "Fight for Algeria"

«To me never gave the direct order to execute this or that. All was clear and so. As Ben Midi didn't wish to cooperate with us, on March, 3rd we long discussed a current situation in an office of Massju. It, certainly, would have the international consequences.« Well, well, – Massyu has told to me, – be engaged in it. Make everything as you are able. I will cover you».
Cinema «the adequate answer» Frenchmen on «Fight for Algeria» has appeared only in XXI century Before this unpleasant theme tried not to concern, but in 2007 director Floran-Emilio Siri has shot a film, which in the Russian hire has been for some reason named «Close enemies» though true transfer sounds - «the Personal enemy». The film is completely devoted war in Algeria. This tape is interesting to that the director has involved in a script writing of known French historian Patrick Rotman.

"The personal enemy" ("Close enemies")

Rotman has studied set of soldier's diaries, weight of interview of veterans of that "dirty" war. Action occurs in 1959. The plot is simple enough: on a front line (if in war with guerrillas there can be a front line) there arrives young lieutenant Terren. He is idealist, the romanticist. It is resisted ideologically by sergeant Dunjak - rigid if not to tell, cruel the fighter, knowing, for sure, realities of guerrilla war. The film doesn't inspire optimism: a continuous hopelessness and depression which can be muffled only drugs and drunkenness. In such war it is impossible to win, though the French army like would gain victories. Tactics of the French army is ideally recreated: numerous outposts, importance of work of scouts and informers, searches and destruction of small groups of insurgents, «field commanders» and caravans with the weapon, support from air. Methods of work with captured guerrillas didn't differ humanity. Tortures by an electricity, a rack, beatings, executions and other "delights" of "a pacification of territories» are reflected with special carefulness.

Cruelty of Front of national clearing has directed many Algerians-Moslems to numbers of the French army. After a gain Algeria independence the most part of these people was lost, and about 100 thousand have got over to France, having begun the big Algerian diaspora directing nowadays horror on the Parisian suburbs. The most actual is connected with war in Algeria for today a theme - terrorism and extremism splash. The modern Islamic terrorism arose in the fifties the last century when east countries were released from colonial oppression, and this struggle has cleared national consciousness of Arabs and berbers. The Algerian crisis had a direct bearing on history of the USSR and enough successful foreign policy of our state in days of "cold" war. It is possible to consider that this problem is twice interesting to the Russian historian who can unbiassedly consider historical events.

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