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By FLORENCE CAZENAVE fmc007@latech



Combine a black-and-white film with French and Arabic-speaking terrorists, and students have got themselves a date with Tech’s Foreign Film Club, and not just any date, but an educational date.

The Foreign Film Club showed its third film of the year, “The Battle of Algiers,” to students at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Visual Arts Center, with the purpose of getting students interested in other languages as well as historic events.

Rudy de Mattos, club adviser and an assistant professor of French, said “The Battle of Algiers” is a crucial film that deals with the French-Algerian war that lasted from 1954-1962.

“The film is a French/Italian movie directed by Gillo Pontecorvo,” de Mattos said. “Most precisely, [it deals] with the guerilla-style war that took place in the Algerian capital.”

De Mattos said the club tries to select the films among a variety of genres and themes.

Anselm Keiser, president of the club and a senior English major, said he can see how the film reflects on recent events.

“The movie is considered a landmark film,” Keiser said. “The main reason [for selecting this film] is that it is relevant to today and how to deal with terrorism.”

Omar Ghojel, a senior electrical engineering major, said he can see how comparisons between the war in Iraq and the battle of Algiers can be drawn from the film.

“Algerians wanted independence,” Ghojel said. “They were trying to push out foreign forces out of the country.”

Keiser said the movie was considered controversial back when it premiered in 1966.

“The movie was forbidden in France for many years because of its anti-discourse to French official discourse on the ‘Events from Algeria,’” de Mattos said. “It has been only in the last few years that the French government and parliament officially and legally recognized the French-Algerian war as a war.”

Keiser said the film was banned in France for about 30 years because even though it was intended to have an unbiased take on events, it actually is fairly biased.

“For instance, you see the French torturing the Algerians, but you do not see the Algerians torturing the French,” Keiser said. “Also, if you look at how it was structured, all terrorism was shown as retaliation to the events, but that wasn’t always the case.”

Keiser said the film is not one he particularly likes, but he thinks it makes for an interesting choice to watch.

“It is a way in which you can get out of your own perspective and look at parallels between events in the past and events that are happening right now,” Keiser said. “When I first saw it I didn’t think much of it, but now it is more important.”

Keiser said he thinks watching foreign films is a good way for students to learn a new language.

“Learning a language is not just about learning the grammar,” Keiser said. “Learning a language is a hands-on process in which you have got to have practical experience and where you learn by doing and by hearing.”

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