Omar Gatlato

Omar Gatlato

Omar Gatlato is probably the most famous man in Algeria. Not because everyone knows about him, I mean I don’t know if the new generation has ever watched the movie, but every Algerian man has in him something of Omar.

Everytime I watch the movie I laugh at Omar, also at myself. I feel some tenderness towards him. Omar Gatlato depicts the typical (or what should be typical of) the Algerian man posture. A man who defends his nif and honour at all costs. A man who can be reckless at times like fighting back when attacked by an armed gang (even if he knows the sad outcome of such a fight), and who over-thinks (like we say ytalla3 w yhabbat) at other times. A man who doesn’t talk much, who doesn’t show his feelings. A man who doesn’t like smir. A man who loves Chaabi music – ok I admit not every Algerian likes this music style. A man who enjoys and is moved by Bollywood music and movies; don’t tell me you never heard of Janitou and Shashi Kapoor!

Something I found interesting in the movie is that things did really not change much between the 70s (and earlier) and a few years ago. I am not up-to-date any more on the Algerian slang so I won’t compare to today’s teenagers’ language but I do use the words and expressions you can hear in the movie. And the issues, both social and economical, that are shown in the movie haven’t been fixed till today. But thank God we don’t have to wear those ugly trousers and our hair is cut short.

The movie was produced in 1976 and directed by Marzak Allouache. And Omar’s character was played by Boualem Bennani. You can watch it here.


3 thoughts on “Omar Gatlato

  1. I’m an englishwoman, married to an algerian man and I adore this film.. My husband comes from the area depicted in the movie, and relates very much to the character of Omar… I think I have watched it more times than he has..!

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