Sunday, January 27, 2008

Must see movie

We are a society that hates to read books but thrives on movies. Hence, instead of a post that would posit which books to read that will grant you greater understanding of Iraq, the Middle East, and counter insurgency in Arabic countries by a Western power, I will show you a film.

It is not a documentary; however, it is in black and white.

It is in French and Arabic languages, with subtitles.

I know that the majority of Americans will, upon reading these two facts about the movie, give up and go back to Rambo (computer game as a movie), Platoon (artistic kitsch masquerading as a movie) or Apocalypse Now (acid trip masquerading as a movie), but hopefully, you have stuck with the blog this long, you will at least give it a shot.

And after the first 2 minute scene, you will be hooked. Everybody is - there are no exceptions. Once you watch the first 2 minutes, you will watch it to the end.

It is the most powerful movie ever made about colonization and the conundrum of a Western occupying power presence in an Arab country.

The words of the elite force parachute general to reporters, who were asking him about the soldiers using torture and informants in an effort crush the Arab rebellion, will stay with me forever, as they sum up the dilemma of a democracy in an untenable situation: "I’ll ask you a question myself: Should France stay in Algeria? If the answer is still yes, you’ll have to accept all the necessary consequences.".

In other words, America - if you want to stay in Iraq, you will have to accept the consequences.

Anyway, to buy the movie go here: DVD.

I urge you to buy this movie - it is a classic, a giant in world cinema.

If you are cheap, you can see the movie here (not recommended):
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Please note that it was not me who has posted the movie on youtube, and to show your appreciation of the artists involved you should buy this gem, like I did. Well worth it. You would also be sending a message to Hollywood that perhaps more thoughtful movies on the subject of war are needed, and not just schlock. Click the amazon link or buy it from other sources - you know what to do. Alternately, TiVo it from the TV when it is on. Last time Danny DeVito presented it to AMC channel as one of his favorite movies.

Bonus material trivia:
The director of this movie was Jewish, which again leads me to admire these people as a powerful force in world culture, while hating them for (at least on American TV) becoming schills for the Israeli policies in the region, many of which resemble those portrayed in this movie. Similarly, the Palestinian tactics are nothing more than the rehash of what the Algerians did, with a suicide bomber twist.

Otherwise, we have seen it all before...

In other words, as a neutral observer, it is really hard to pick a side that is in the right in this fight at least just by looking at the methods employed, as both sides effectively use war crimes (killing of civilians, jailing of people on informants' say so, torture, collective punishment of whole buildings and villages).

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