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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Battle of Algiers director dies
Gillo Pontecorvo
Pontecorvo was nominated for two Oscars
Italian film-maker Gillo Pontecorvo, who directed The Battle Of Algiers, has died at the age of 86.

Pontecorvo's film depicted the brutality of both sides during the guerrilla uprising against French colonial rule in 1950s Algeria.

Shot like a documentary, the highly influential film was banned in France for some time, while its scenes of torture were cut in the US and Britain.

Twice an Oscar nominee, Pontecorvo also directed Marlon Brando in Queimada.

A resistance fighter during World War II, Pontecorvo maintained strong political passions that were reflected in his movies.

It's a great personal pain and huge loss for Italian cinema
Walter Veltroni, mayor of Rome
The Battle of Algiers won the 1969 Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion and was nominated for three Oscars in the best director, best screenplay and best foreign language film categories.

In 2003 the Pentagon screened the film to officers and civilian experts who were considering the challenges faced by the U.S. military in Iraq, the New York Times reported.

A flier inviting guests to the screening read: "How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas."

Although he only directed a handful of movies, he maintained involvement in films and for two years was the director of the Venice Film Festival from 1992-4.

The news came on the eve of the first Rome Film Festival.

"It's a great personal pain and huge loss for Italian cinema," the city's Mayor Walter Veltroni said. "We are already thinking about how to honour him during the festival."

Your comments:

The kind of filmmaking epitomised by Pontercorvo is sadly missing today. His work was unapologetic and passionate and political. We especially need directors like that now. Battle of Algiers will go down as one of the great movies.
Mike Lynch, Birmingham, UK

Great man, great work, great loss. We live in a world today where just cause is denied.
Kawther, Virginia, US

A great film maker. Battle of Algiers is an incredible film. A talent like this will be missed.
Danny, London, UK

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