Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LA GRAINE ET LE MULET
(THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN)

15th French Film Festival
Cinema 4, Shang Cineplex




This film explores the life of a French Arab family. Silmane, the elderly patriarch is laid off from work so he dreams of opening a restaurant. Since he used to work at the shipyard, he decides to convert an old boat into an eatery where he will serve his ex-wife’s famous fish couscous. Naturally, he encounters complex problems involving his family and his business proposal.

The movie has many layers that shift through numerous issues. It offers a very realistic perspective into the modern French minority experience. It also presents the rich Arab culture as exemplified by strong family ties cemented by good food and you might as well throw in some belly dance, while you're at it.

In my opinion, certain scenes were totally dragging. It seemed like it went on forever. Yet I understand that the director wanted to convey the same sense of frustration as experienced by the characters in the film. So in that manner, he did succeed. The extreme close ups of the characters were also distracting.

Filmed entirely in French with some Arabic words and English subtitles, The Secret of the Grain is a good tale of human triumphs despite all odds.

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