Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Claudia Cardinale, born in Tunisia, in Goha (1958), starring Omar Sharif

Claudia Cardinale, born in La Goulette, Tunisia, had her first film role at the age of 20 in Guha (1958), starring Omar Sharif. The film was made in Tunisia, directed by Jacques Baratier. Claudia had a minor role as Amina. Cardinale was raised speaking Arabic, French and Sicilian, and she only learned Italian later, when she started appearing in Italian films. When I first learned about this film, I had hoped that it would show Claudia speaking Arabic, but alas, the film is in French.

Claudia Cardinale (middle) in Goha

Like many people of my age, I had seen Cardinale in several films (among them, The Pink Panther, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Fitzcarraldo), but never knew she was born in Tunisia. Until I saw Tunisian director Férid Boughedir's 1996 film, Summer in La Goulette, where Cardinale makes an appearance, as herself. The best treatment I know of the various European populations of Tunisia is Julia Clancy-Smith's magisterial Mediterraneans: North Africa and Europe in an Age of Migration, C. 1800-1900 (2010). Highly recommended.

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