The Movies “Salt of the Earth” and “The Battle of Algiers”

The concept of moral and ethical righteousness is the basis for justice. Natural law, fairness, equity, and rationality are the elementary principles of justice. In many instances, we see societies rising against the humanity injustices, and most of the time, this raises result in the formation of revolutions and uniting of the alienated members of the society to gain equality. Revolutions were common in the countries colonized by western countries with Algeria being one of them. The colonizers aimed at imparting a new culture in the colonies, and this brought about conflict of interest. The conflict led to the beginning of a revolution that brought the change of things (American Colonization Society 2010). This paper seeks the connection of revolution and the need for social change on the basis of the movies Salt of the Earth and The Battle of Algiers.

Revolution and Resistance in the Film “Salt of the Earth”

This movie is based on real life situation of the strike at the Zinc mine. Filmmakers made an emphasis and characteristic feature by incorporating the real people and families who participated in the strike in casting of the film. This is effective in that they threw away the possibility to distort the events and participants who were in the ground and in the film. The acting, therefore, was first hand. Ramon is one of the key actors in the film, and he displays the role of concrete leadership in the guide for change, though he fails to incorporate the women in the problem solving. The movie depicts so well the theme of revolution and resistance in the Mexican mines. The spirit and determination of the mine workers show their selfless nature in struggle for equal rights against the monopolistic company that rules them. The attitude as to lesser beings becomes the driving force for miners to revolt despite the mass killings and total control. In this movie, we also see the women coming out as the society rights fighters in the forefront of the revolution. The miners are in fear of the mine owner. They are afraid of losing their livelihoods. Inequality was the order of the day in the Mexican Zinc mine. The miners feel that all is not well, and they have to do something for the betterment of their working conditions (Hunter 2012). The peak of the drama starts when the safety of every individual depends on the improvement of working conditions. It bolstered the need for the strike from the workers side. The worker’s union decided to continue the strike until the company improves the working conditions. The company has been ignoring their needs and demands for safety. The company leadership failed to agree with the workers and reverts to destroying the picket line made by the workers.

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The fight against discrimination was also one of the igniting factors for the revolution. Inequality exists between the Mexicans and the Anglo workers. The Mexican workers are forced to work in a horrible condition, unlike their Anglo fellows. They live far much better than the Mexicans (Hunter, 2012). The lack of running water w is a good example of the inequity among the workers; the provision of better homes and even working conditions were miles away better than those of the Mexicans. These were the reasons that influenced on the Mexicans when they decide to revolt against the injustices. It reflects the picture of the Marx’s theory of work.

The vital role of women in the fight for justice and equity is seen when women replace their men in the picket line. Being overloaded with domestic duties, like cooking, cleaning, and looking after children, Esperanza has to live with the union’s ignorance on the access to practical matters like radio, sanitation, hot water, and other domestic concerns. The movie engages the issues of women rights in conditions of dominant American politics in the land. Women’s problems are raised for the first time by the film makers where we see Esperanza being stubborn for change along with other women in the picket line. Women emerge as heroes in the film. As pointed out by Esperanza, Mexican children and wives are the ones who suffered from the harsh living and deplorable health conditions. The workers had to rise and fight against these injustices. But these are women who stand up and replace their husbands in line when the last have ignored to handle the non-work place issues. Esperanza is against the exclusion of women’s demands and needs all to be included and claims that the rights have to be fought for in unison to achieve the best.

“Salt of the Earth” explores various styles of discrimination that were experienced in classes, races, and sexes. The wives of the miners were forced to hold archetypical household roles, and they revolted against the dominance of their male counterparts, and the resultant event was a strike. As the film goes to climax, the company leaders’ efforts to derail the strike by undertaking mass evictions are at vain (Bosteels 2012). There is united resistance of both men and women in the entire mining region. The result is a victory of the strikers. It is a good lesson that if there is a unity, it is easier to overcome a given problem or difficulty; otherwise, the fight is lost.

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In this movie, social conditions of the workers and their families make them to ignite a revolution. The movie is centered on the Marxist theory of revolt and the Grey Becker’s theory of injustice. Becker’s theory is seen in the discrimination of the Mexicans while the Anglo lives and work in much better conditions. This results into a creation of a revolt army that wins over the Zinc company injustices.

The Battle of Algiers

The events in the movie develop against the background of the war that lasted in Algeria against the French colonialists, in 1954-1962. This war was led by the political movement called Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) which was a coalition of nationalist forces. The film makers are trying to show the conflict between the Algerians and the issue of oppression on the Arab Algerians by the French. This is achieved by the depiction of issues like the physical living space that is unhealthy. The two populations are separated: the Algerians live in the dark Casbah, which looks like the worst place for living while the French live in the modern city along the sea which has stores, has lights, good buildings, and automobiles. This city is considered to be civilized. The Arabs are shown to be engaged exceptionally in manual labor, and when they work with the Europeans, they only work on them. The film makers were effective in expressing the theme of revolution, and they show the Algerians rising against the Europeans who are the monopolists in the city affairs and have developed a strong middle class. During this period, there were violence and struggles in the cities between the rulers and the Algerian citizens. We see a number of injustices and discriminations over the people of Algeria (Cowie 2008).

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The French paratroop army was hunting for the leader of the revolting Algerian army, and they tortured the Algerians to get any useful information about his location. The people experienced sufferings and denial of social rights in the country. This was a result of an eight day strike organized by FLN. The Algerian citizens had lost their cultural value, and they wanted to fight it back from the French rulers. This liberation led to lots of fighters ending up behind the bars of the French prisons, destruction of villages, and executions of innocent lives (Sheiban 2011). The Algerians fight for the freedom of their culture because they fell as if they are aliens in their own country. In the movie, we see French paratroops declaring that they have neutralized the FLN. It included assassinations, arrests, and captures. But later, demonstrations and riots indicated that the war against the Algerians had not been won by the French. The radicalized politically while in prison criminal Ali Pointe came out to fight for the liberation of the nation. He kills close friends and associates before he rises on the position of leading the strongest rebel party in Algeria.

French paratroopers arrested Yacef Saddi, one of the most important front leaders of the FLN in Algeria. We see arrogant attitudes towards the Arabs. The French kept reminding them that they had given them civilization and prosperity. They also referred to them as to dirty Arabs and rats. This shows the effectiveness of the filmmakers in passing the message of oppression suffered by the Algerians. Mathieu uses the metaphor of tapeworms in expressing how to deal with the FLN leaders. He says that the only way to deal with this organization is by decapitation it as a tapeworm.


From the above movies, we see that the desired results are achieved by high price,, sometimes too high, like losing lives, detentions, assassinations, and other atrocities to the people. The winning of the war against social evils is a clear indication that a fight against anything that linits people’s rights, prevent from bettering living conditions, etc. of a given society is absolutely possible.. The movies show what happens in the real life, and what people do in their day to day activities. The lessons learnt here are that at any point, no one should oppress human rights and freedoms. Care for others as we care for ourselves.

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