Political Films

Written by Serena Berger
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Political films are intensely appealing to some, but the thought of them can leave others cold. It is, however, important to note what a range of films may qualify as or be considered political. At the one extreme are films commissioned by the government of a country to deal with a political theme, and at the other end are movies which are mostly about a relationship or a family, but have a political undercurrent.

Documentary Style Political Films

An example of the former would be the 1965 film The Battle of Algiers. The Algerian government commissioned director Gillo Pontecorvo to make a film about the FLN's battle with the French for the liberation of Algeria. While this could have been an opportunity for propaganda, it is actually a fair and unbiased retelling of events of the war, which is a highly lauded film by critics and audiences around the world who have learned from and been touched by it.

At the other extreme might be an American film such as Spy Game or The Siege. The famous actors with their multi-million dollar salaries and the general action movie crowd-pleasing sequences with chases and explosions make those films seem like generic blockbuster candidates. The political subtext is very strong, though, with elements about terrorism, revolution, and social justice that make these movies also qualify as at least quasi-political films.

Foreign political films can give significant insight into the cultures and people of other nations. They can also be great works of art. If you are interested in viewing political films for cultural or educational purposes, you can search the Internet for distributors who sell foreign language films not commonly released in the U.S.


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