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LES MAINS LIBRES

Ennio Lorenzini
1964 Algeria 53 minutes French, Arabic


Presented by Cecilia Cenciarelli (head of Research and Special Projects at the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna), Zineb Sedira (French Algerian artist representing France at the Venice Biennale 2022), Luca Peretti (University of Warwick)

“Some Algerian activists came to Italy, they saw some of my films and they offered me to make a film about Algeria which would be their first feature film. […] I didn’t want to make a sociological or ethnographic film, but a kind of poem, where we talk about superstitions, enthusiasm, in other words, a film about the new and the old. I think the main strength of the film – if you think it’s the first film made by a young country who has just gone through a revolution – is to try to raise issues instead of glorifying their history. Pontecorvo is currently making a film on the battle of Algiers, and then more young Algerian people will, in turn, be able to make films. I hope they will be given a chance at least.”  Interview with Ennio Lorenzini, in La Revue du Cinéma, 1966.

The restorer – FONDAZIONE CINETECA DI BOLOGNA


The Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna is an internationally recognized film archive with a multi-faceted mission ranging from film preservation and dissemination, to training, research and publishing. Over the last twenty years, with its laboratory L’Immagine Ritrovata (and L’Image Retrouvée), the Cineteca has grown to be one of the world’s leading centers for film restoration, working in partnership with entities and organizations such as the Academy Film Archive, Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation, Pathé, Gaumont, Roy Export, Sony, Institut Lumière – just to name a few – and completing over 900 restorations, including masterpieces by Pasolini, Renoir, Fellini, Chaplin, Vigo, De Sica, Leone, Rossellini and many more. 

Since 2007, the Cineteca collaborates steadily with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, a special program created by Martin Scorsese and The Film Foundation, which helped restore close to 50 films from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America, South America, and the Middle East. Cineteca’s annual festival Il Cinema Ritrovato has become one of the favorite destinations of film scholars, curators, restorers and cinephiles around the world.

Photo credit: © All rights reserved

Ennio Lorenzini

Ennio Lorenzini worked on many short films with the Italian director Gian Vittorio Baldi before launching his brilliant career as a director and documentary filmmaker in 1961. Les Mains Libres was his first theatrical release, produced by Casbah Film in co-production with Algeria. In 1968, he directed Cronaca di un gruppo for Italian television. In 1975, he directed Quanto è bello lu murire acciso, the story of the patriot Carlo Pisacane, an extraordinary portrait of the Risorgimento in Italy. With this film he won three prestigious awards: the David di Donatello – special prize for direction – the Silver Ribbon for the best new Italian director and the Golden Globe for the best first work.

Production :
Casbah Film
Restoration credits :
Restored in 4K by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from a rare 35mm print preserved by AAMOD - The Audiovisual Archive of the Democratic and Labour Movement. In association with Casbah Entertainment. With special thanks to Zineb Sedira, the Institut français and the Cinémathèque d'Alger.
Contact :
Cecilia Cenciarelli - cecilia.cenciarelli@cineteca.bologna.it
Progress stage :
Color grading
Availability Date :
April 2022 / The restoration premiere will likely take place at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna (June 25-July 3, 2022)