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COUSCOUS aka LA GRAINE ET LE MULET aka THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Habib Boufares, Hafsia Herzi, Faridah Benkhetache, Abdelhamid Aktouche, Bouraou´a Marzouk, Alice Houri, Cyril Favre, Leila D'issernio, Abdelkader Djeloulli, Bruno Lochet, Olivier Loustau, Sami Zitouni, Sabrina Ouazani, Mohamed Benabdeselem, Hatika Karaoui, Henri Rodriguez, Nadia Taouil
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Countries: Germany / France
Language: French (English subtitles)
UK: 151 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and one sex scene
UK Release Date: 20 June 2008 (Limited Release)
The city of Sete, on the harbour.
Mr Slimane Beiji (Habib Boufares), a weary sixty years old, is still grinding it out at the shipyard, in a job that has become more painful as the years have worn on. A divorced head of family, he desperately tries to remain close to his loved ones, a task made more difficult because of family break-ups and seething tensions which seem to be about to erupt, and which financial difficulties only exacerbate.
In this delicate part of his life, it seems like everything contributes to his feeling of uselessness. He has carried the weight of what he sees as his failure for a long time and his only thought is to overcome it by founding his own business, a restaurant. But it isn't going to be easy.
His income is insufficient and irregular, and falls far short of what he'll need to make his ambition succeed. That doesn't keep him from dreaming about it, talking about it, mostly to his family. That family is, little by little, drawn together around the plan, which has taken on the symbolic value of a quest for a better life.
Will the dream come true...?
From the director Abdellatif Kechiche
"I began with a popular fantasy, the kind of story they like to tell about those who "made it," or in other words, those who escaped the modern slavery of a nowhere career path by starting their own businesses. And I wanted to treat it with a certain irony, unbridle the story in the way you can with a narrative tale. So this is an adventure story, one where the narration is closer to that of a tale, with all the digressions, suspensions, etc. that that implies, rather than an action film per-se"
Born in Tunis, Abdellatif Kechiche started his career as a film and stage actor, before moving into film directing. His first theatrical role was in 1978 in SANS TITRE by Garcia Lorca, directed by Muriel Channey. In 1984, he made his film-acting debut, taking the lead role in LE THe a LA MENTHE by Abdelkrim Bahloul, and continued working as an actor both for theatre and cinema. In 1992, he played the lead in BEZNESS, by Nouri Bouzid, for which he won the award for Best Actor at both the Namur French language Film Festival (1992) and the Damascus International Film Festival (1993). In 2000, Abdellatif Kechiche directed his first feature film, LA FAUTE a VOLTAIRE. Kechiche's second film, the award winning LA GRAINE ET LE MULET has been an audience hit in France.