Objectively False: French Cinema and the Algerian Question
This chapter discusses the double narrative of French modernization and the Algerian War. New Wave films Muriel, Cléo from 5 to 7, Adieu Philippine, Le Petit Soldat, and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg express the myths and anxieties of modernization while critiquing official representations of a prosperous France surging into American-style consumption patterns. References to the Algerian War are sporadic and indirect. Decolonization and accelerated modernization are deeply interrelated, with the war representing a sort of “political doppelganger” of the country’s newly omnipresent capitalist culture. Pontecorvo’s fictionalized documentary The Battle of Algiers applies the aesthetic strategies of Italian investigative cinema to Third World context. Through montage, musical motifs, and a metafictional sequence, he demonstrates that the essence of reality does not always lie on the surface.