The ‘magnificent’ five who put the fun into France

Theirs is a rags-to-riches story: five North African Jewish refugee arrive destitute in France and proceed to inject new life in the entertainment industry. Report in the Times of Israel (with thanks: Lily)

Enrico Macias

From eulogizing Anwar Sadat in song to sharing laughs onscreen with Jerry Lewis, five North African Jewish immigrants revolutionized French pop culture.

Their impact from the 1960s through the ’80s is now being further immortalized in a new documentary, “Les Magnifiques.”

Algerian-born singer Enrico Macias became an international pop star. Philippe Clair of Morocco and Robert Castel of Algeria mastered the art of comedy. Tunisian producers Norbert Saada and Régis Talar excelled at finding talent.

“These five Magnifiques are part of the life of France, even if sometimes we ignore it,” Yves Azeroual, who co-directed the film with Mathieu Alterman, wrote in an email. “Through this film I wanted to pay homage to their work, their talent and also their tenacity.”

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This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

Point of No Return

Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

One-stop blog on the Middle East's
forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.