The Battle of Algiers [1966]

I recently re-watched Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 classic The Battle of Algiers. Much of the visceral power of the film lies in the soundtrack. Not only in Morricone's expressive score but through the use of sound recordings to evoke everyday life in the casbah. Crowds, markets, vehicles, public address announcements, mosques, prayers, the harbour atmosphere - an endless texture of noise and human activity. While the increasing presence of the French military is marked by the sounds of marches, military vehicles, gunfire and explosions.

In the films penultimate protest sequence, the soundtrack erupts in a cacophony of treated crowd noise, distorted effects and female ululations before Morricone's drumming theme gradually returns. The overall effect is breathtaking; a masterpiece in audio-visual storytelling.


Cinema of Noise No.59: A Force Greather than Itself