SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield series Political Art and the Public Sphere continues with a screening of the film "The Battle of Algiers" at 6 p.m. Monday, February 19, in Brookens Auditorium, lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. Both the film and the discussion session that follows are free and open to the public.
Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 work is "one of the most important political films ever made," said series facilitator Richard Gilman-Opalsky, UIS assistant professor of political philosophy. Banned in France, it has served as the inspiration for actual political movements and was screened at the Pentagon as recently as 2003.
"'The Battle of Algiers' is unquestionably one of the most rousing films of all time," said Gilman-Opalsky. "It's as provocative today as it was in 1966, and it retains all of its impact."
Set in Algeria during the country's war of independence, the film depicts an episode in the National Liberation Front's struggle against the occupying French and raises critical questions about terrorism, colonialism, nationalism, and revolution.
Each month, Political Art and the Public Sphere will feature a showing or performance of some kind of "political art," followed by a group discussion of the issues it raises. "The basic idea behind PAPS is to consider how 'art' raises provocative social and political questions," Gilman-Opalsky said.
"Public spheres are the places where people come together to communicate, to evaluate, and to circulate ideas and arguments," he added. "In the public sphere, people form a collective political opinion and will. Ultimately and ideally, the public sphere brings the interests and demands of the public to bear on those who hold power."For more information about this program or the PAPS series, contact Gilman-Opalsky by phone at 206-8328 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.