PRODS Heidi Egger, Safinez Bousbia
SCR Safinez Bousbia
CAM Nuria Roldos
ED Françoise Bonnot
PROD CO Quidam Productions Ltd. / Eikosi Productions / Babylone Productions
Buena Vista Social Club move over. Uplifting and entertaining while covering an important piece of Algerian history, El gusto focuses on the art of Chaabi music (a precursor to Rai), a melding of Berber melodies, religious chants and Andalusian tunes, as played by Arabic and Jewish musicians in the Casbah of Algiers prior to the War of Independence. Following the war, and the forced exile of a number of Jewish Algerians to France, the musicians never played together again. This is the story of their reunion and of their extraordinary city.
Director Safinez Bousbia was an architect when she first returned to her birth place, Algeria. A handmade mirror caught her eye and upon entering a small shop in the Casbah, Bousbia met an 83-year-old craftsman who talked animatedly about his past. He told her about the music that once pulsed through the Casbah, about his friends who were forced to leave after Independence and others who had dispersed widely across the capital. Bousbia located and reunited 42 Chaabi musicians in Algeria and France who had not seen each other for more than 50 years. Although they had aged, their passion for the music remained. Together they formed the orchestra El gusto and performed first in France, and then around the world. Eight-and-a-half years in the making, El gusto, the film, permits an even wider audience to share the joy.