Monday, August 25, 2014

Salah Sadaoui's Scopitone: "Nezouedj Ouahdi"

I love this Scopitone from 1968. The Algerian Kabyle singer Salah Sadaoui, who migrated to France in 1954 and made his career as a singer there, appears in this scopitone as an Algerian immigrant who gets all dressed up, goes out, picks up a blonde chick, gets into a fight with a guy over the girl, beats him up, is arrested and jailed, and gets beat up by the French police. He shows a comic flare through the piece. It all happens in 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

Sadaoui often sang about the problems of the migrant, including the difficulties that ensued from trying to hook up with European women. The title of the song, "Nezouedj Ouahdi," means, roughly, "I'll get married on my own," that is, I'll arrange my marriage by myself, like a "modern" European. It won't be an arranged marriage. The real point, however, seems to be the very typical mistreatment of Algerian immigrants by French police. I find it surprising that Scopitone allowed the filming of such blatant racist cop violence. 

Read more about Sadaoui here. And here for a documentary in French about Scopitones in Arabic and Berber, called Trésors des Scopitones.

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