Italian film-maker GILO PONTECORVO has died. He was 86. The director, best know for his work on THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, died last night (12OCT06) at a hospital in Rome, Italy. The cause of his death is still unknown, but he is reported to have suffered a heart attack months ago. Battle of Algiers 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. Rome's mayor WALTER VELTRONI says of the director, "It's a great personal pain and a huge loss for Italian cinema." He is survived by his wife PICCI and three children.