Iah-207-733 – film discussion: “indochine” and “the battle of


In this week’s discussion, and in preparation for your weekly response assignment, you are asked to reply to 2 questions of your choice from the list below, and respond thoughtfully (based on online discussion criteria) to another classmate’s comment.  Your posts must consider how “memory” is constructed through the medium of film, by using specific examples, quotes, and other details from the film to illustrate your point.

You may develop your thoughts by responding to any of the following questions ABOUT THE STORY, ITS CHARACTERS AND EVENTS:

  1. Whether the title of the two films Indochine (Wargnier, 1992) and The Battle of Algiers (Ponticorvo, 1966) adequately represent the actual content of the film. If so, how? if not, what do you think will make a more adequate title? If yes, and no, explain how.
  2. From whose point of view do we have access to the history of French Indochina? Is it from the point of view of the French or from the point of view of the indigenous populations (the Vietnamese in Indochine or the Algerians in The Battle of Algiers).
  3. Whose voice dominates in the films in the representation of Algeria and of Indochina?
  4. Describe the conditions of existence of indigenous people under the colonial system as they are represented in the films The Battle of Algiers and Indochine.  How are the relationships between French and indigenous people represented? How do French characters fit into this?
  5. Discuss the representation of women in both films: are they depicted as powerless/submissive or as having power/ agency, or both? explain how/why using different and specific examples.
  6. Give examples illustrating the indigenous people’s subordinate status, and others that express resistance to colonial oppression.
  7. How is the French colonial system/regime represented?
  8. Whose story is dominant/foregrounded (when one considers the opening and ending of the film)? 
  9. Based on the story, discuss how colonialism disrupts, changes, destroys and/or blurs notions of identity, cultural affiliation, lineage, and belonging.
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