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The Secret Files by Courriere, Yves & Monnier, Philip

After the Second World War the dissolution of European imperialism was inevitable. The raising demands for self determination and equality of Asian and African peoples led to worldwide decolonization. The Algerian War for independence 1954-1962 was a dirty struggle that cost the lives of millions of people.The Secret Files shows fascinating footage of this complex and mult faceted conflict between the French government and rival movements in Algeria. The historic images of this documentary are accompanied by interviews, speeches, and radio broadcasts of important political figures of the Algerian war. The film provides an excellent insight in this 7 year war for seldetermination and uniquely highlights the events that led to the independence of Algeria in 1962.

Historic Relevance
The visual and audio primary sources used in The Secret Files shed an interesting light on the complexity of the Algerian War. These strong images and revolutionary lyrics capture the mood of the struggle for independence by the former colonies of the West in the early sixties. Especially the nationalist songs and speeches invoke the feeling of determination of the Europeans that wanted Algeria to remain French. This documentary creates powerful images of leading political figures of this struggle from Charles de Gaulle, Raoul Salan, Ferhat Abbas to Labri Ben MHidi and many others. The exceptional footage on Algerian War events such as the May 1958 crisis, The Battle of Algiers, and the Paris massacre of 1961 creates a great film on this cruel war.

Political Relevance
The Algerian War is an interesting example of a multifaceted independence struggle. The Secret Files tries to capture this complexity by emphasizing the political agenda of the different movements within this war. The politics of interest within decolonization is vividly expressed by the historic images, yet from a postcolonial perspective. Political power struggles concerning the UN, Cold War events and the tensions between Western and Muslim communities are strongly articulated within this documentary. It is a great epic on the fight for freedom and the imperialistic character of Western society.

Courriere, Yves & Monnier, Philip
Copyright Holder
Yves Courriere
165 min.
Year of release

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