Seeing and Saying: Towards an Ethics of Truth in José Saramago's Ensaio sobre a Lucidez The 1967 film The Battle of Algiers, a path-breaking documentarystyle fictionalization of the Algerian struggle for independence from colonial domination, opens with the stark black-and-white images of an imprisoned National Liberation Front operative who has just been tortured. The man appears to reside on the border between life and death or, perhaps more precisely, between opposing states of consciousness or subjectivity. Once a prominent leader of the armed uprising against the French, the prisoner has been reduced to a degraded informant who, in the following scene, leads the French occupiers to the secret hiding place of FLN leader Ali la Pointe. Although the scene alludes to but does not show directly the acts of torture that have allowed his captors to extract this valuable information (the more brutal scenes come later in the film, after the story has been told from the beginning of the uprising), a crucial link is established from the outset between torture and truth. The (implied) infliction of pain in conjunction with careful interrogation yields the desired results: the acquisition of information ("the truth") that will lead to the
SubStance – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Mar 17, 2012
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