Pursuing what he calls "free and persistent cinema", Malek Bensmaïl looks both forwards and backwards as Algeria celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence in July.
The colonial scars remain: "On both sides of the Mediterranean, the wound is still open," explains Bensmaïl, whose films were issued in a box-set earlier this year by the French Institut National de l'Audiovisuel.
"It is we, the filmmakers, who are trying to close it," he adds.
His prize-winning films, such as the documentary 1962: De l'Algérie française à l'Algérie algérienne, serve as testimonies and show the complex realities of contemporary Algeria.
The films touch on themes such as political power, migration and school life.
During the 2012 Cannes film festival, Bensmaïl spoke about his next project, Odysseys, a film that "will make you travel beyond the imaginable," between Algeria and Japan.
Perhaps, in contrast to his other work, this is an escape from reality●