ALGERIA'S BLOODY YEARS chronicles the country's struggle for peace, stability and democracy since independence from France. The documentary combines recent and archival interviews, newsreel footage, and recently filmed footage from Algeria to trace the origins of the violence that has left as many as 200,000 dead since 1988.
ALGERIA'S BLOODY YEARS begins with a brief historical survey of events in Algeria since independence in 1962, and moves on to focus on the democratization process set in motion after the October 1988 riots, the success of Islamist groups in elections, the subsequent cancellation of these elections by the military, and the country's descent into violence, up to the present day. The film provides an excellent overview of recent events and asks tough questions about their causes, and humanizes a conflict that was all too often reported deep inside the newspaper with little more than "score cards" of the numbers killed.
Not a simple catalog of atrocities, ALGERIA'S BLOODY YEARS uses contemporary testimony from people on all sides of the conflicy - from former Algerian generals to French government officials, from Algerian journalists to Islamist leaders - to unravel the mysterious machinations that have killed thousands of innocent Algerians.
""Rarely has the history of the Algerian conflict been presented with such clarity, or such force. [The film's] real strength lies in its mix of shockingly honest interviews... brutally graphic scenes ... and archival footage of such crucial points in the nation's history. This triple-pronged approach allows director Malek Bensmail to recount Algeria's complex recent history quickly and powerfully." - International Journal of African Historical Studies
2005 African Literature Association Film Festival
2004 African Studies Association Film Festival
2003 Middle East Studies Association FilmFest
"Recommended! Well-researched, balanced... A clear, coherent account." - Educational Media Reviews Online
" * * * * * (5 stars!) Extraordinary! Brilliantly details the extended civil war which has virtually destroyed the North African republic since 1991... One cannot come away from the film without shuddering in horror that Algeria's nightmare could easily become a prelude for Iraq's future. And that makes ALGERIA'S BLOODY YEARS scarier than any Hollywood monster movie could ever aspire to become." - Film Threat