Cinema in an Age of Terror: North Africa, Victimization, and by Michael F. O'Riley

By Michael F. O'Riley

Cinema in an Age of Terror appears to be like at how cinematic representations of colonial-era victimization tell our figuring out of the modern age of terror. via studying works representing colonial historical past and the dynamics of spectatorship rising from them, Michael F. O’Riley unearths how the centrality of victimization in sure cinematic representations of colonial heritage can assist us know how the need to occupy the victim’s place is a deadly and blinding force that regularly performs into the imaginative and prescient of terrorism.
Films akin to The conflict of Algiers, Days of Glory, Caché, and up to date works by way of Maghrebien filmmakers all exemplify, in numerous methods, how this specialise in victimization can develop into a challenging perspective—one actually trying to occupy ideological territory. Their go back of colonial background to our modern context, even supposing usually difficult, allows us to work out how victimization is particularly a lot approximately territory—cultural, spatial, and ideological—and how resistance to new kinds of imperialist conflict and terror at the present time needs to be positioned open air those haunting pictures from colonial heritage. even if such pictures of victimization finally purely go back as outstanding acts that draw our recognition clear of the cyclical contest over territory that they embrace, these pictures still have the final word. 

Michael F. O’Riley is an affiliate professor of French and Italian at Colorado collage. he's the writer of Francophone tradition and the Postcolonial Fascination with Ethnic Crimes and Colonial air of mystery and Postcolonial Haunting and Victimization: Assia Djebar’s New Novels.

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Additional resources for Cinema in an Age of Terror: North Africa, Victimization, and Colonial History

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To express political views usually anathema to the dominant media. For the First World mass media, terrorism means only freelance or infrastate violence . . 5 While it is easy to agree with Stam and Spence that cinematic identification does take place through spectatorial positioning, such identifications as seen in reportage about the film (particularly from the Pentagon) seem to take place as identifications with Algerians as enemies. Such a positioning propagates the “clash of civilizations,” 28 RESUSCITATI NG THE BATTLE OF ALGI ERS establishing an identification directly related to the conflict in Iraq as Western world versus Arab, or Orient.

S. officials, in identifying with the surveillance, torture, and victimization depicted in Pontecorvo’s film, would have imagined the limited reach of Western democracy that the existence of Pontecorvo’s liberationist narrative ultimately underscores some forty years later. S. occupation of Iraq. 14 The Pentagon screening of Pontecorvo’s work demonstrates that given the new imperialist appropriation of postcolonial texts, it may very well prove to be more effective to see anticolonial works of resistance as indicative of the ways that the victimization highlighted in them engenders a struggle to assume the victim’s position rather than to see them as works of imperialist resistance with direct currency today.

While never characterizing the French, the film exposes the oppressive logic of colonialism and consistently fosters our complicity with the Algerians. It is through Algerian eyes, for instance, that we witness a condemned Algerian’s walk to his execution. It is from within the casbah that we see and hear the French troops and helicopters. This time it is the colonized who are encircled and menaced and with whom we identify. (244) Of course Stam and Spence interpret the film from a positioned perspective that shares the same political consciousness of decolonization 38 RESUSCITATI NG THE BATTLE OF ALGI ERS they identify in Pontecorvo’s film.

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