El Ghorba (1971)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Social Issues, Biography, Politics & Government  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - Algeria, France  |  
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In France, as elsewhere in Europe, for many decades there have been "guest" workers, or "temporary" immigrants who are brought in to do low-paying menial work shunned by locals. Their situation has given rise to unrest in both their native lands and in their host countries. Indeed, much of the resurgence of European racism is laid, unfairly, at their doorstep. The host country wants cheap labor, and the workers' native lands welcome the money these workers send back to their (usually impoverished) homeland. Thus, there are strong governmental forces to promote the practice at each end. This 1971 documentary is an early effort to examine the guest workers' situation and its causes. At the time of filming, about three-quarters of a million Algerians were "guest" workers in France. The film examines the situation of one young man, who arrives fresh from Algeria, and grows increasingly sophisticated in his understanding of his situation and how to function in it. Though the film earnestly describes plans to return the Algerians to their homeland, it is clear that no one directly concerned puts much faith in the plans. Their doubts were justified, as the number of Algerians living in France grew by several million in the following two decades.

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Keywords

France, immigrant, labor-issues, worker, Algeria, homeland, poverty, racism, immigration, outcast, menial-task