La graine et le mulet

La graine et le mulet

The secret of the grain

DVD - 2010 | French
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When patriarch Slimane acts on his wish to open a portside restaurant specializing in his ex-wife's fish couscous, the extended clan's passions and problems explode.
Publisher: [United States] : The Criterion Collection, 2010
Edition: Director-approved special édition
Branch Call Number: FRENCH DVD GRAINE
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (154 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet ([16] pages : color illustrations ; 19 cm.)
Alternative Title: Secret of the grain

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r
Ron@Ottawa
Jul 16, 2017

This film from France tells of a story involving two Arab families living in coastal France. I have two problems with it. First it too long at 2.5 hrs. With some good editing and cutting out of the family bickering scenes the flow will be tighter. Second, the frequent use of a hand-held camera sweeping from on face/person to the other is annoying. Don't know if this comes from a budget constraint. With this aside, I find this film gives me an opportunity to look into the lives of Arab immigrants in France, and the daily challenges they face. Acting is good overall. Toward the end there is a dance scene which I think was very well done. Overall this is a good piece of French cinema. In French with subtitles.

l
lettheheelingbegin
Oct 04, 2016

For those interested in the cultural groups of contemporary France, this is a surprisingly fine movie. It's filmed in a candid style so parts seem documentary-like. Good heart, poignant, and yes, a bit slow moving in places, but one could also see that as a careful study of the characters.

n
Nursebob
Jan 28, 2015

Slimane Beiji has spent most of his life working in the dockyard at Port Sète, first as an unregistered immigrant and then as a full-fledged citizen. Now in his latter years he finds he doesn’t have much to show for it—his company is cutting his hours causing an already precarious financial situation to turn dire, he’s become impotent with his girlfriend, and his adult children are the only bridge between him and his embittered ex-wife. His biggest regret however is the fact that he never managed to fulfill his lifelong wish of opening a floating restaurant (a veritable “ship of dreams”) specializing in “fish couscous”, a traditional dish his former spouse makes to perfection. Spurred on by his lover’s headstrong daughter Rym (a multiple-award winning performance by newcomer Hafsia Herzi) Slimane decides to gather his meagre resources and take a stab at that dream after all. Wading through a maze of municipal bureaucracy, not to mention a reluctant loan officer, Slim manages to secure a rusty old fishing boat and with the help of family and friends—including his girlfriend and ex-wife—the restaurant slowly becomes a reality. Throwing a fund-raising gala on the newly remodelled boat, Slimane invites one hundred of the town’s most influential bigwigs to come and sample his wares. But just as things seem to be going his way the unthinkable happens and it’s going to take a miracle or two, and perhaps a small sacrifice, to keep his dream from being destroyed for good. Writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche’s seriocomic parable about hope and adversity is presented with such natural energy and disarming dialogue that at times it sounds like an ad-libbed reality show. Characters swirl around each other offering encouragement or rebukes, gossiping around the dinner table, and occasionally offering profound insights into life, love, and the meaning of it all. Lead actor Habib Boufares plays Slim as if in a daze, a man who has seen too many disappointments to take much pleasure in a bit of luck when it presents itself. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the film’s astonishing multi-layered finale where we see a disheartened Slimane tormented, quite literally, by a trio of mocking Fates even as more powerful forces are at work on his floating eatery. At 150 minutes "Grain" takes its sweet time getting to the point and I must admit I found some of the prolonged banter tiresome, but this is a film that demands your full attention and once you get into its groove the journey proves to be one of those rare cinematic delicacies.

n
Nursebob
Jan 28, 2015

Slimane Beiji has spent most of his life working in the dockyard at Port Sète, first as an unregistered immigrant and then as a full-fledged citizen. Now in his latter years he finds he doesn’t have much to show for it—his company is cutting his hours causing an already precarious financial situation to turn dire, he’s become impotent with his girlfriend, and his adult children are the only bridge between him and his embittered ex-wife. His biggest regret however is the fact that he never managed to fulfill his lifelong wish of opening a floating restaurant (a veritable “ship of dreams”) specializing in “fish couscous”, a traditional dish his former spouse makes to perfection. Spurred on by his lover’s headstrong daughter Rym (a multiple-award winning performance by newcomer Hafsia Herzi) Slimane decides to gather his meagre resources and take a stab at that dream after all. Wading through a maze of municipal bureaucracy, not to mention a reluctant loan officer, Slim manages to secure a rusty old fishing boat and with the help of family and friends—including his girlfriend and ex-wife—the restaurant slowly becomes a reality. Throwing a fund-raising gala on the newly remodelled boat, Slimane invites one hundred of the town’s most influential bigwigs to come and sample his wares. But just as things seem to be going his way the unthinkable happens and it’s going to take a miracle or two, and perhaps a small sacrifice, to keep his dream from being destroyed for good. Writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche’s seriocomic parable about hope and adversity is presented with such natural energy and disarming dialogue that at times it sounds like an ad-libbed reality show. Characters swirl around each other offering encouragement or rebukes, gossiping around the dinner table, and occasionally offering profound insights into life, love, and the meaning of it all. Lead actor Habib Boufares plays Slim as if in a daze, a man who has seen too many disappointments to take much pleasure in a bit of luck when it presents itself. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the film’s astonishing multi-layered finale where we see a disheartened Slimane tormented, quite literally, by a trio of mocking Fates even as more powerful forces are at work on his floating eatery. At 150 minutes "Grain" takes its sweet time getting to the point and I must admit I found some of the prolonged banter tiresome, but this is a film that demands your full attention and once you get into its groove the journey proves to be one of those rare cinematic delicacies.

l
lukasevansherman
Apr 27, 2014

The French title roughly translates to "Couscous and Fish." I was drawn to this film because I saw Tunisian-French director Abdellatif Kechiche latest, the intense, explicit, controversial, Palme d'Or winning lesbian romance "Blue is the Warmest Color" (also highly recommended).
While this has the same use of long takes, naturalistic performances and neo-realistic principles (there's even a homage to "Bicycle Thieves" towards the end), the subject matter is quite a bit different. Set in a French coastal town, "Grain" is about a French-Arab family, the patriarch of which has lost his job and has decided to open a restaurant serving his ex-wife's couscous. His girlfriend's spirited daughter, who looks up to him as a father, is a key collaborator. While this may not sound like a recipe (pun intended, there's a lot of food in this) for high drama, it's an absorbing and engrossing film with some incredibly understated performances, particularly by the old man and the girlfriend's daughter, who gives a spectacular belly dance towards the end. Be warned, it is long (2.5 hours) and the ending is abrupt, which some viewers may find disappointing. Released in 2007.

theorbys Sep 15, 2013

The first 10 minutes of the film were a bit off putting for me, but this is filmmaking at its best. It's just about the most human film I have ever seen. DEFINITELY watch the bonus features on disc 2.

e
empbee
Sep 03, 2013

Slow at times but good content. A warm movie with "old style" family values.

Green_Bird_203 Mar 06, 2013

I was moved, touched and energized. This will rank in my top 5 French movie ever. Don't miss the extended reedit of the climacted belly-dancing sequence in the bonus features. The new rising actress Hafsia Herzi learned the dance for the first time to play the role. She is a born actress, extremely talented.

l
Livresjrg
Oct 16, 2011

Beautifully done film Highly recommend.

k
KindaSassy
Dec 05, 2009

Saw this in the theatre - for the life of me I cannot understand how it won awards. Very slow moving. No real story line... very dissappointing.

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