By Michael F. O'Riley
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Additional info for Cinema in an Age of Terror: North Africa, Victimization, and Colonial History
That perspective, along with the cultural capital that informs it, is rooted in the ongoing imagination of the American nation that must transpose its positions as torturer and victim in order to galvanize its position as a hegemonic nation. S. screening of Pontecorvo’s ﬁlm ultimately reveals how the resistance ﬁlm can become the political screen onto which is projected the spectator’s imagined image of hegemonic nationhood replete with a history of victimization and imagined reprisal. Such conceptions of hegemony resonate with a larger history of European imperialist approaches to the Mediterranean.
In a scene depicting a press conference, Colonel Mathieu remarks that “the word torture doesn’t appear in our orders. We’ve always spoken of interrogation as the only valid method in a police operation directed against unknown enemies. As for the fln, they request that their members, in the event of capture, should maintain silence for twenty-four hours, and then they may talk. So, the organization has already had the time it needs to render any information useless. S. government RE S US CI TATI NG THE BATT LE OF ALGI E RS 43 response to the torture of suspected members of al-Qaeda in 2002, before the screening of Pontecorvo’s ﬁlm, came to reﬂect the French response represented by Colonel Mathieu.
Of RE S US CI TATI NG THE BATT LE OF ALGI E RS 45 course those same tactics would come into play in Abu Ghraib just months later, and it is easy to see how the Pentagon screening of The Battle of Algiers, placed as it was between two torture scandals, participated in the general climate that transformed or reimagined terrorism and torture as necessary tactics of the victimized. In his memoir of torture during the Algerian War, Henri Alleg recounts the details of his victimization at the hands of the French.