Les Mains libres

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Les Mains libres
Promotional poster
Directed by Brigitte Sy
Produced by
  • Mathieu Bompoint
  • Claire Trinquet
Written by
  • Brigitte Sy
  • Gaëlle Macé
Music by Daniel Mille
Cinematography Frédéric Serve
Edited by Julie Dupré
Distributed by Chrysalis Films
Release date
  • 16 June 2010 (2010-06-16) (France)
Running time
100 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €1.64m

Les Mains libres is a 2010 French drama film directed by Brigitte Sy. It stars Ronit Elkabetz, Carlo Brandt, and Noémie Lvovsky. It was released theatrically in France on 16 June 2010. It is a feature-length prequel to Sy's 2008 short film, L'Endroit idéal.[1]


Barbara (Elkabetz) is a filmmaker developing a film written and acted by prison inmates in Paris. She defies legal boundaries and unleashes a series of consequence when she forms a deep romantic relationship with Michel (Brandt), an inmate involved in the film project.[2]


  • Ronit Elkabetz as Barbara
  • Carlo Brandt as Michel
  • Noémie Lvovsky as Rita
  • Camille Figuereo as Chloé
  • Adama Doumbia as Roel
  • Denis Maréchal as Fifi
  • Gurgon Kyap as James
  • Abdelhafid Metalsi as Mouloud
  • Xavier Legrand as Laurent
  • Ahmed M'Hemdi as Bouda
  • François Négret as Sergueï
  • Alain Ollivier as Le directeur de la prison
  • Sasha Andres as Marie-Pierre
  • Dominique Frot as La juge
  • Mireille Roussel as La tireuse de carte


Thomas Baurez of L'Express, described it as "intelligent, gracious and humble.. a love story of the purest sense of the term."[3] Lucie Calet of Le Nouvel Observateur, continued that it is a "Greek tragedy" of "great dignity."[4] Le Figaro praised the depiction of the tangible reality of the film as well as Eliabetz' superb and dark performance, evoking traits of the Madonna.[5]

The film was warmly received by The New Yorker; "with calm and nuanced images, Sy captures emotionally unguarded characters locked in the gaze of prying eyes; with brusque, quiet action and incisive, tight-lipped dialogue, she sets a gripping plot in motion while keeping it close to the heart."[6]


  1. ^ L'Endroit idéal (2008) Uni France. Retrieved on 5 July 2010
  2. ^ New releases Cineuropa. 16 June 2010
  3. ^ Les mains libres, brillant ! (Studio Ciné Live) L'Express. 15 June 2010. French
  4. ^ Les Mains libres de Brigitte Sy Evene. Retrieved on 29 June. French
  5. ^ La femme et le prisonnier Le Figaro. 16 June 2010. French
  6. ^ Free Hands The New Yorker. Retrieved on 16 April 2011

External links[edit]