During the international symposium “Cinema and Citizenship Issues” in Oran, Mourad Chouihi, director of the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel (CNCA) announced that the Centre will be restoring and digitizing at least 10 classic Algerian films in 2023.
Since 2012 the CNCA has restored 16 films, including L’aube des damnés (1965) by Ahmed Rachedi, Hassan Terro (1968) by Mohamed Lakhdar Hamina and Les vacances de l’inspecteur Tahar (1971) by Moussa Haddad. Among the films to be restored this year M. Chouihi mentioned Chroniques des années de braise by Mohamed Lakhdar Hamina (Palme d’Or at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival), L’Epopée de Cheikh Bouamama (1983) by Benamar Bekhti and Les portes du silence (1987) by Amar Laskri. The theme common to all three films is the war against the French occupiers. For example L’Epopée de Cheikh Bouamama, a fresco lasting more than 5 hours, retraces the life and armed resistance of Cheikh Bouamama during the French occupation in the 19th century.
In a speech opening this symposium on research, Soraya Mouldji, Minister of Culture and the Arts, emphasised the Algerian state’s commitment to the film industry. In particular she confirmed the government’s willingness both to guarantee the sector’s economic continuity and “enhance our audiovisual memory” by creating an inventory, then restoring and digitizing this national heritage, while also working with others to bring back elements of that heritage scattered in foreign laboratories.