DDocumentary Feature Competition
El GustoOriginal Title: El Gusto
Director: Safinez Bousbia
France, Algeria, Ireland, United Arab Emirates | Arabic, French
| Colour and B&W
Subtitles: Arabic, English
The jovial energy of traditional Chaabi melodies, the beautiful scenery of Algiers, wonderful friendships and a serene nostalgia… El Gusto is Algeria’s version of Buena Vista Social Club
. Years in the making, Safinez Bousbia’s ambitious project reunites a group of Muslim and Jewish musicians 50 years after their separation and follows their story as they form a 42-member orchestra, “El Gusto,” for an extraordinary concert in France.
This is a journey that started in a small mirror shop during Bousbia’s visit to Algiers in 2003. Intrigued by some old photographs of a Chaabi music class from the 1940s, she set out to track down these lost friends, now aged between 70 and 100 and living across Algeria and France. Five decades after their first lessons at the Conservatory of Algiers under the legendary master El Hadj M’Hamed El Anka, the members of El Gusto now recount the country’s turbulent history and their undying passion for Chaabi –a “cocktail” of Arab Andalusian, Berber and Flamenco music traditions. This is the soul of the Algerian Casbah, the music of the streets, the coffee shops and the weddings. El Gusto
is proof that music transcends cultural, ethnic and religious boundaries. More importantly, it is an invitation to reimagine possibilities of coexistence, freedom and dialogue –a reality taken for granted among the diverse communities of Algeria not long ago.