Psychics Speak, The Individual Interviews: Richard Schickel
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These are the gnawing questions that Pontecorvo poses, without quite decisively answering them. Contrast such hesitancy with Z , another exciting film, which came out three years after the release of The Battle of Algiers. The Greek-born Costa-Gavras has been a consistently political director; and this anti-fascist film, also shot in Algeria, 36 pits good against evil. Z makes Yves Montand the prey of thuggish police and military, and the only morally interesting question is whether Jean-Louis Trintignant will have the spine to indict and prosecute the uniformed killers and their accomplices.
Z stirs audiences to cheer his display of courage, even in defeat; The Battle of Algiers offers a more complex emotional consolation. Mathieu enables this supremely political film to escape the embarrassments of mere propaganda. Jean Martin, who played Mathieu, would later get another chance to champion French Algeria, in assuming the role of an OAS agent who helps to arrange an attempted assassination of de Gaulle in The Day of the Jackal His reaction to the film has not been disclosed, however. In its second half, terrorism is seen from the perspective of a highly intelligent paratrooper and counter-insurgency strategist which makes Pontecorvo a peculiar kind of Marxist.
Mathieu is neither a fanatic nor a sadist. What if the FLN militants made a point of justifying their actions? Audiences might well have resisted such truculent anti-colonialist exhortation. He even expresses the knowledge that history is on the side of the oppressed colonial peoples, who will win; he himself is merely part of a holding action, preserving imperialism a little longer but bound to fail. As commander of the 10 th airborne division, General Massu was given full police powers over Greater Algiers on 7 January , and created the system that enclosed the Muslim population within certain neighborhoods of the city.
Interviewed in , he banged his fist on a table as he complained of cinematic duplicity and a lack of objectivity. But so wild a misinterpretation of the movie could be advanced only by concentrating on the final frames, when the unarmed masses pour into the streets, three years after the siege and the killing of Ali La Pointe and his comrades. Among the signatories was Truffaut, whose endorsement of the right of refusal to take up arms against the people of Algeria did not prevent him from protesting the screening of The Battle of Algiers in Venice six years later.
Officers like Mathieu had been on the same side as leftist intellectuals during the Second World War, which rendered conservative patriotism quite compatible with radicalism and even, after 22 June , with Communism as well. Massu himself had joined General de Gaulle in resistance headquarters in London in It gives loyal soldiers like Mathieu their due. Pontecorvo was not entirely one-sided himself. His film certainly shows the terrifying experience of torture.
But in exposing some of the violent methods of the FLN, The Battle of Algiers is hardly free of the ambiguity that constitutes the antithesis of propaganda. Such methods not only end lives but also ruin them. That differentiated Sartre from another leftist intellectual, Albert Camus. The reluctance of Sartre to denounce the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union, which entailed a personal and political rupture with Camus, suggests that even the vocation of estrangement has its limits. One battleground was post-colonial Algeria itself, which has been subjected to military rule since independence was won in The moral price was exorbitant.
Some of the same appalling techniques that the French paras had used against the FLN were adopted against the FIS, including torture, summary execution, and incarceration in secret detention camps in the Sahara. Although Human Rights Watch condemned such ruthless counterinsurgency methods in an important report that was issued in February , those who perpetrated such atrocities were not identified — much less punished.
When Jacques Chirac visited Algiers four decades after the defeat of French colonialism there, the crowds that greeted him did not see the French President as a legatee of imperialist oppression or colonialist cruelty. Nor did he wish to enter into any arguments by analogy.
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In , when the administration of George W. Bush signaled every intention of invading Iraq, Halberstam claimed that his experience in Vietnam obliged him to issue warnings of a catastrophic repetition. Henry A. And I felt the specter of colonialism would be a problem again in a more complicated way with Islam. What do you think we can learn from it? About a month later they sent out a memo saying people should watch it. But whether it will have the same impact on someone who has never worked in the postcolonial world Richard A.
Clarke, the chief of the U. Can you go after terrorism by just killing terrorists? When the movie ends, the French have captured and killed all known terrorists, but in the process they bred another batch. I had a flashback to the movie where the French colonel, Mathieu, crosses out the names of terrorists, thinking he is winning. I thought, oh, my God, the President wants to do the same thing — probably with the same degree of success. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor.
Sound familiar? There the only end in sight was one that the Pentagon was not looking forward to. They have effectively driven the United Nations, the international staff of the Red Cross, and other aid groups from the country, and — more disastrously — they have fostered a mutual sense of alienation between the American forces and the Iraqi people they are supposed to be liberating. A chasm in film taste hints at the fragility of their relationship. He prefers instead to see The Battle of Algiers. So does posterity — and that includes the residents of Algiers, where this movie is reported to have remained quite popular.
Others claim that the ban was not formally lifted until , or even the following year. Solinas, ed. Dee, , And when she deigned to speak she growled single, heavily accented words, usually repeated twice. The sheer rarity of her utterances always brought conversations to a halt. Van Horne first followed Clem to Los Angeles in because he was having an affair there. A heterogeneous soup of colors and languages.
The only city I had ever imagined living in other than New York.
It also perpetuated the cliquey-ness and elitism that ensured its edginess. Where else would I have had my aura cleansed twice , have been counseled by a psychic nutritionist in the art of dangling a crystal over an avocado in the supermarket to test its toxicity to my energy flow, have traveled afar to attend clandestine channeling sessions, have consulted a mantric healer, have been advised by a psychic astrologist, have my chakras cleared, have been Rolfed, have been treated regularly by acupuncturists and herbalists, and have been massaged every way to Sunday and back?
It is no longer well understood that CG was primarily an art critic, whereas Rosenberg came at some of the same issues from the perspective of a cultural critic. He took offense and angered easily. When Partisan Review fired him from its editorial board in the year he married Jenny , it came as a major blow to the ego of a longtime contributor and year veteran of the board.
His differences about modern art with Alfred Barr, founding director of the Museum of Modern Art MOMA , became legendary along with the deterioration of his relationship with Lee Krasner during her widowhood, a phase of life she handled independently and very well. Van Horne is winningly candid about her marriage and the challenges involved in managing her role as a dependent person 25 years younger than Greenberg.
Like the horse that nears the barn, I was anxious to get back to the given, the routine and nourishment of home. Once again, as in Woodstock [where she had produced plays], I experienced the freefall exhilaration that only the fullness of sound could make me feel. My daily abundance filled me up. I was doing what I loved best — juggling a new life. Theirs had been a year relationship and neither one subtracted the years of divorce from the count because there had been a continuity of sorts. They have a mere 90cm in which to do so.
But the next challenge is up to the Swiss to manage alone. Jacques Piccard needs to demonstrate his skill at the helm to find the perfect speed of descent. Time is short as the explorers want to be back on the surface before darkness falls.
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But descending too fast would increase the risk of colliding with the walls of the Mariana Trench at these unknown depths. The first incident occurs after 1, of almost 11,m: a small leak. Water begins to seep into the bathyscaphe via a cable duct. In 64 dives, his bathyscaphe has never let him down. The two per cent of the sea still deeper is named, chillingly, the Hadal zone, after Hades, the underworld of ancient mythology.
The bathyscaphe ventures deeper and deeper, breaking record after record: 7,m below sea level — a new record for a manned descent; 8,m — the height of Mount Everest. A dull thud suddenly shatters the silence in the steel ball 9,m down. The first signs of ever-increasing water pressure. Piccard stays Stops on a voyage to the bottom of the sea: Ingenious balloonist and inventor Auguste Piccard top left, with his son Jacques came up with the basic principle for the bathyscaphe, a submarine that would shatter the final frontiers of sea travel.
The bathysphere was made by Krupp. On January 23, , Piccard Jr and US Lieutenant Don Walsh small picture, second row, second from left, being received by President Eisenhower, on the left in the photograph made history. He checks the instruments. No other damage.
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He remembers the calculations he and his father had made. They reassure him that the boat was built for depths of up to 20,m. And if it works on paper and obeys the laws of physics, it will work in reality too. Piccard and Walsh have more than another 1,m to go before reaching the bottom of the Mariana Trench. When Jacques Piccard and his father Auguste first tested their bathyscaphe in Italy, their dives attracted a lot of attention around Europe.
Sensationalist articles even suggested that the Trieste had been held on the seabed by a giant octopus. Just as funds were drying up from onwards and Europe was gradually losing interest in expensive deep-sea journeys, the US Marines began to express an interest. Officially, the American military wanted to acquire the Trieste to salvage submarines which had sunk and to conduct scientific dives.
And in those Cold-War days of scientific competition with Soviet Russia, the superpower also had an eye on breaking records and gaining prestige.