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Politics and the Police: Documenting the 17th October 1961 Massacre

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The police massacre, in the center of Paris, of hundreds of protesting Algerians on the 17th of October 1961 has become one of the most recognized events of the Algerian War. Amid a wealth of historical and fictional works that treat the event, Jacques Panijel's Octobre à Paris has received comparatively little attention, perhaps due to the fact that it was immediately censored in 1962, denied a visa d'exploitation in 1973, and finally released in cinemas in October 2011, when it was frequently screened as a double bill with Yasmina Adi's Ici on noie les Algériens (2011). Panijel's film is quite distinct from Adi's work, unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the altered conditions of their creation and potential public reception. Adi's film rests on the assumption that the audience will trust in the veracity of the information she presents; Panijel's film, by contrast, cannot rely on any previous knowledge on the part of the spectator, and anticipates incredulity and resistance. This article examines both works, and asks whether a form of Rancierian politics, as a rupture in dominant modes of perception that offers voice and visibility to the marginalized, might be made manifest in Panijel's choice of aesthetic techniques.

Acceptance Date Apr 9, 2015
Publication Date Jan 5, 2017
Journal Contemporary French and Francophone Studies
Print ISSN 1740-9292
Publisher Routledge
Pages 599-606
Keywords Octobre a Paris; 17th October 1961; Algerian War; Ranciere; documentary; distribution of the sensible
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