V/A / CHA-CHA AU HAREM ORIENTICA – FRANCE 1960-1964
In 1963, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia won seven Oscars. Launching its actors to stardom, including Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif who played Prince Ali Ibn Kharish at the age of thirty. The latter incarnated the West’s vision of the Middle East which was simultaneously elusive, refined and elegant. His fiery stare, impeccable mustache and immaculate haircut had something to do with it: the Egyptian actor was a sex symbol of an era passionate for James Bond and OSS117 spy adventures. In the Jordinian desert, he fascinated an audience that was in search of an escape and the thousand and one nights. This appetite for a colorful and fantasized exoticism, was also prominent in France’s music of the sixties. The country that welcomed Omar Sharif’s first feature films outside of Egypt (Goha, La Châtelaine du Liban) produced a delirious amount of music of Latin or Middle Eastern inspiration, grouped behind the genre named “typical” .
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