EL GUSTO - THE GOOD MOOD
Genre: Feature length film
Format: 35 mm / DCP
Duration: 88 minutes
Budget: 2 419 437 €
Production company: Quidam Production El Gusto (Ireland)
In co-production with: Eikosi Productions (Algeria), Babylone Production
In association with: The Irish Film Board Entreprise Nationale de Télévision Algérienne
With the participation of: Région PACA, La Ville de Paris, Centre Culturel Français d'Alger, SANAD The Post-Production Fund of the Abu Dhab Film Festival UAE
Written and directed by: Safinez Bousbia
Produced by: Safinez Bousbia, Heidi Egger, Philippe Maynial
Edited by: Françoise Bonnot A.C.E
Shoot: 2007 - 2010
Post-Production: 2010 - 2011
Release: January 2012
Distributed by: UGC ph for the French territory. ROW is available.
“El Gusto” is the story of a group of musicians torn apart by history and brought together by music.
This project was born following a visit to Algiers in late 2003, where the director/ Producer Safinez Bousbia was wandering through the narrow streets of the Casbah of Algiers. Drawn to hanging mirror for sale, she walked into the little mirror shop. Instead of selling her the mirror, the craftsman, Mr. Ferkioui 83 years of age, sat her down and told her the story of his lost friends. He showed her old photographs of a music class that existed in the 1940s where both Jewish and Muslim musicians performing side-by-side a popular style of music: Chaabi.
After the Independence in 1962, his Jewish friends fled to France while the Muslim musicians who remained became scattered throughout the vast city of Algiers, lost to each other and forgotten by the world; their beloved Chaabi music a slowly dying relic of times past. Mr. Ferkioui's one dream was to see his old friends again.
Hooked by his story, Safinez spent the next 2 years tracking down each of the surviving members of the original Chaabi music class, now aged between 72 and 98 years of age living across Algiers, Marseille and Paris. She found most of the musicians living in poverty, their life on hold, lost in memories of the past. She discovered real characters that played a key role in the French Algerian contemporary history. Some have been tortured by war, some by history, others by solitude but they all had an extraordinary story to tell that deserved to be told. Safinez fell in love with these men and wanted to share their story through a film.
After finding all the surviving member, together they formed a 42-member orchestra and called it El Gusto. Almost half-a-century later, the original masters of Chaabi music set out on an historic journey from Algiers and Paris to Marseille in a quest to reunite on stage and once again re-live the memories of El Gusto: The Good Mood.
Soon the project started a snow bowling effect where the musicians were asked to play in various international venues allowing a tour to begin and the adventure to continue. They performed at the Algiers Opera house, the Théâtre du Gymnase in Marseille, the renowned Paris-Bercy, the Barbican in London and the opening of the Berlin jazz Festival during 2007. This tour also accompanied the release of an El Gusto album produced by Damon Albarn/ Honest Jons label and distributed by EMI. In 2008 the orchestra continued to perform at “les Nuits de Fourvière” in Lyon, the “Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques” in Essaouira and at the Alhambra in Paris, the Palais des Bozar in Brussels, and continues to do so…
Since the beginning of El Gusto, the media have always been interested by the story of the orchestra and its evolution, while the musicians appeared on radio like BBC World Service or RFI and television programs on networks including ARTE, France 3, CANAL +, DW, BBC and many others, we were delighted by what the press had to say. The New-York Times wrote
« It’s a bewitching record with gorgeous natural room sound and powerful, guttural singing » while the Evening Standard wrote « Arab and Jew united by Algerian orchestra », and the French Figaro found that « Le symbole est évidemment d'une puissance étourdissante, comme pour jeter un pont par-dessus un demi-siècle de déchirures (...) il prédit un succès équivalent à celui des Cubains du Buena Vista Social Club ».
All through this adventure Safinez managed to film their stories, the city, memories of their youth, their music, fame and even war and history to produce a feature length drama doc for theatrical release. We had the honor to collaborate with the renowned editor Françoise Bonnot to edit the film. She is an Oscar winner for best editor for the film "Z" of Costa Gavras. She also worked with Roman Polanski, Ridley Scott and recently with Julie Taymor for "Frida", "Titus" and "Across the Universe". She was very moved by the story of these men.
The post-production of the film is finalized and we are delighted to announce that EL GUSTO will be released in January 2012 in France through UGCph distribution. The theatrical release will be accompanied by a series of live concerts at various prestigious venues in seven French cities, including the renowned venue, Le Grand Rex. A soundtrack will be release at the same time distributed by Universal.
Back to projects