Resonating with her 2022 Venice Biennale show, this programme of films curated by artist Zineb Sedira sheds light on the relationship between cinema, anticolonial activism in Algeria and collective memory. This programme features Zineb Sedira’s short film mise-en-scène (2019), and Italian filmmaker Ennio Lorenzini’s documentary on the birth of the Algerian nation, Les Mains libres (1964-65).
FRA | 2019 | dir. Zineb Sedira | 9 mins
Between the 1960s and the late 1980s, the Algerian film industry flourished in an anti-colonial environment, giving rise to a nation of politically aware film lovers. Since then, however, the film industry and archives in Algeria have suffered due to the political and economic situation. This short video work consists of several sequences of found footage from various militant films made in Algeria from the 1960s onwards.
Les Mains libres
ALG | 1964 | dir. Ennio Lorenzini | in French with English subtitles | 56 mins
‘Produced by Casbah Film (who would later finance Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers), Les Mains libres was shot by Italian filmmaker Ennio Lorenzini in 1964 – only two years after Algeria’s independence from French colonisation – and it is the first international Algerian production. ‘As time went by, I became more and more interested in this film, that had not been seen for 57 years! (…) It touched me greatly to discover, not only the newly created Algerian state in colour, a rare sight at the time, but also a multifaceted nation, away from the simplistic view created by the French press and army. Les Mains libres is a discovery, a political and militant testimony to the enduring traces of colonisation and of the tasks to come once a country has newly gained freedom.’ – Zineb Sedira