Jean-Pierre BERTIN-MAGHIT - The Films of Amateur Filmmaker Soldiers during the Algerian War: historical documents?

For twenty-seven months in Algeria, between 1954 and 1962, some draftees became amateur filmmakers, taking their film cameras with them (to Algeria) as other soldiers took their still cameras. The presentation interrogates this cinematic effort/gesture, which gathers almost exclusively ephemeral moments of joy, shared in anecdotic daily scenes. What images have these soldiers wanted to have seen, what did they want to keep as memories? How do their stories fit into History? These films tell us nothing of combat strategies or maneuvers or of war atrocities. Nor do they give an account of the chronology of the war. They relate to a social experience and contribute a point of view that much more valuable as each solider films very little (for financial and logistical reasons of the terrain). They are a cultural document for the historian who examines the life of these “drafted into the Algerian War.”

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