Friday, May 31, 2013

L'ennemi intime (Intimate Enemies) review


An excellent and unflinching look into one of the most brutal conflicts of the 20th century - the Algerian War (although the French refused to formally call it a war), Intimate Enemies might be categorized as the Frenchversion of Platoon or Full Metal Jacket. Unlike most war movies it also maintains a surprisingly successful level of suspense more associated with film noir (the amazing music score might have something to do with that). It deals with many of the similar themes to aforementioned movies: the unwinnable war, the horrible brutality and dehumanization of the enemy, questionable 'ends justify the means' mentality of one's own side, resignation and bitterness of the common soldiers. Algeria was not merely a war of Algerian revolutionaries against French oppressions, more than two million so-called "blackfeet" - ethnic Algerians who supported the French - fought in the war as well. Both sides butchered and tortured civilians and prisoners alike - truly there were no "good guys". Intimate Enemies has all the military cliche characters that we might expect but still manages to make them seem like real people, and endow them with real emotions and real dilemmas. The French experience has much to teach us about other conflicts going on today: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia. Intimate Enemies is now one of my favourite war movies, and the best movie about the conflict in Algeria since the excellent black-and-white "Battle of Algiers". It is now on Netflix in the foreign film category and I strongly recommend it.