Ten Best Anti-Colonialist Movies — II


Gandhi (1982)


Sir Richard Attenborough’s biopic of Mohandas K. Gandhi was drawn on an epic canvas worthy of David Lean himself, with a cast of thousands called upon to do justice to the life of India’s Mahatma. By Zeroing in on the critical events in Gandhi’s historical journey against colonialism, Ben Kingsley and Attenborough brought out indomitable spirit of the soft-spoken, but determined pacifist. The film distinctly suggests that that humanity is only interested in searching for ways to restore egalitarianism and human rights in times of colonial injustice.


Lion of the Desert (1981)


Moustapha Akkad’s one-of-a-kind cinematic experience, Lion of the Desert shows the atrocities of Italian fascist colonial power of the early 20th century and the guerrilla war actions, lead by the great Libyan leader Omar Mukhtar. Although an Arab was not casted in the lead role, Anthony Quinn plays Mukhtar with strength, sensitivity and skill. The movie depicts the cowardly acts of Graziani. It also shows the horrific methods of the Italian army, which holds the helpless population in concentration camps; isolating the warriors from their families; setting fire to their fields; destroying their homes;  and shooting innocent civilians.


Burn (aka Queimada, 1969)


Gillo Pontecorvo’s anit-war, anti-colonialist movie is about a professional mercenary Sir William Walker, who instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help the British to improve the sugar trade. Years later, he is once again sent to the island, where the former slaves have turned into fierce rebels and are threatening British’s economic interests. Marlon Brando gave an astounding performance as Walker, showing the right amount of compassion and ruthlessness. The movie stacks up a lot about colonial misdeeds and also makes us interpret with the contemporary global power struggles.


Battle of the Algiers (1966)


Gillo Pontecorvo’s electrifying epic retells the violent conflict between French paratroopers and Algerian FLN rebels that ultimately liberated Algeria from French colonial rule. The film impeccably mixes the documentary realism with fictional film-making. The colonial circumstance makes even a method of marriage as a potential act of resistance (stated in an wedding scene of two Algerians). When it was released, the film got as much criticism as praise. One side felt that there isn’t a commitment to the rebels cause; other side thought that here was too much objectivity. But, now it is rightly seen as a film with no caricature or glamorization of either side.


Lawrence of Arabia (1962)


David Lean’s sweeping epic provides one of the best disillusioned studies about British Colonialism. Legendary actor Peter O Toole made his debut as a young British Lieutenant, T.E. Lawrence, who fought in the Arab uprising against the Turkish invaders at the beginning of the last century. He acts on his personal convictions and often condemns the British’ stance of taking up the Arab nation once the Turks were defeated. The film accurately represents the frustration felt after the success of the Arab Revolt, which led to the further colonialist rules and subsequent uprisings. Lawrence’s character itself serves as a microcosm of colonialism, as his honorable and courageous persona slowly evolves into bloodlust in the face of power.


Other Important Films: The Wind that Shakes Barley (2006), The Mission (1986), The Last Samurai (2003), Rabbit Proof Fence (2002)

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