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DDocumentary Feature Competition

El Gusto

El Gusto

Original Title: El Gusto
Director: Safinez Bousbia
France, Algeria, Ireland, United Arab Emirates | Arabic, French
2011 | 89min. | Colour and B&W
Subtitles: Arabic, English
Format: HDCAM
All Ages
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.

–Özge Calafato

Director,  Safinez Bousbia

Director,  Safinez Bousbia

Safinez Bousbia was born in Algeria and educated in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. She entered the world of film in 2003 after several years of working as an architect. In 2004, she created Quidam Productions, a Dublin-based production company, dedicated to finding untold stories and bringing them to the screen. Along with El Gusto, her films include the documentaryX-KIDS (2004). She is currently in preparation for her next feature film.

Cast and Crew

Director
Safinez Bousbia
Production Company
Quidam Production El Gusto
Edited by
Françoise Bonnot
Music
The El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers
Producer
Safinez Bousbia, Heidi Egger, Philippe Maynial
Director of Photography
Nuria Roldos
Screenwriter
Safinez Bousbia
Editor
Françoise Bonnot
Cinematographer
Nuria Roldos
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