Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Wedding ...

In The Battle of Algiers' wedding scene, Pontecorvo marks his early shots with Algerian women and children behind bars: a quiet wedding, clandestine ...










The bride and groom ...










During a prayer in which the onlookers all participate, however, the camera tilts upwards, into the sky. Cut to a pan over the city tops: the prayers ascend to heaven but reinscribe themselves upon the social sphere. (Is this a common feature of filmmaking in Algiers, or what? Merzak Allouache's 1994 film Bab el-oued City utilizes such high vantage points too. I have seen few other films from or set in Algeria.)



















No doubt when this was screened at the White House the official message was a manipulation of Pontecorvo's point; that this was the textbook illustration of burgeoning Islamofascism: so devout they want to impress it upon the world.

2 comments:

Alex said...

The high vantage point shots of an Algerian (or Moroccan) city's rooftops is actually a bit of a cliche. It's used prominently, for example, in Duvivier's Pepe le Moko both as a plot point and as a decorative / architectural visual theme. And Pepe le Moko's box office success initiated a wave of French films set in French North Africa (which wave inspired some American knock-offs as well).

Zach Campbell said...

Only seen clips of Pepe le Moko (and those were down in the city streets). Thanks for the tip.