Tag Archives: Waiting for Omar Gatlato

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No: 42: Omar Gatlato/aka Omar, It Kills Him (Merzak Allouache, Algeria, 1976)

A greatly beloved work, a landmark of Algerian cinema. Filmed in 1976, in that period between the end of the Algerian War in 1962 and the start of what would become known as the black decade of the 90s, Omar Gatlato is a study of masculinity and the self-harm caused by a culture of machismo, a document of Algiers and Algerian popular culture in that period, an experiment in film form and one of the films Youssef Chahine recommended we see. I was very glad we did. The podcast below touches on all of these topics and more.

The podcast my also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT

and on itunes here: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/first-impressions-thinking-aloud-about-film/id1548559546



Listeners can see a trailer of the film below:

The Youssef Chahine Interview by Tom Luddy, translated by Ehsan Khoshbakht can be accessed here:

Indeed Omar Gatlato has interesting links with Khoshbakht’s observations on Iranian cinema during roughly the same period in Filmfarsi. Our podcast on the film and our conversation with Ehsan can be followed up here:

Conversation with Ehsan: https://notesonfilm1.com/2021/04/30/jose-arroyo-in-conversation-with-ehsan-khoshbakht-on-filmfarsi-2019/

Podcast on Filmfarsi: https://notesonfilm1.com/2021/03/16/jose-arroyo-richard-lane-on-filmfarsi-ehsan-khoshbakht-2019-wales-one-world-festival/

Natasha Marie Llorens writes:

En Attendant Omar Gatlato expresses the exceptionalism of the

1970s in the country, which historian James McDougall describes

as the era of a “new, young and profoundly transformed Algeria.”3

The book, an excerpt of which has been translated and is included

in this volume, takes its framing metaphor from Merzak Allouache’s

film Omar Gatlato, an extraordinary cinematic portrait of Algerian

youth released in 1976, fourteen years after the end of the War of

Liberation. For Tamzali, Omar Gatlato was not only paradigmatic

of a period saturated with the claim for subjective emancipation, it

inaugurated an awareness of that freedom: “Now we know. We were

waiting for Omar Gatlato. Merzak Allouache clasps the old mummy

that film had become, and plunges Algerian cinema into a pool of

tenderness and rebellion.”

Her marvellous Introduction to the Waiting for Omar Gatlato Exhibition can be accessed here: NLlorens_waiting-for-omar-gatlato_introduction (1)


José Arroyo