La Graine et le Mulet (The Secret of the Grain) (Couscous) Reviews

  • Jun 22, 2015

    This was certainly a powerful story of life's purpose, meaning, and the result that random coincidences can have on it. Unfortunately, it was way too long but the conclusion was well executed.

    This was certainly a powerful story of life's purpose, meaning, and the result that random coincidences can have on it. Unfortunately, it was way too long but the conclusion was well executed.

  • Mar 26, 2015

    Writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche, a French-Tunisian and a former actor, makes movies portraying a multi-cultural, modern France that have an exquisite intimacy that resonates unlike anything else in contemporary cinema. Kechiche frequently favors extreme close-ups, and lets scenes play out beyond normal dramatic standards, to arrive at an emotional truth without veering into melodrama. This method also allows him the freedom to elicit naturalistic performances from his remarkable cast. Habib Boufares is Slimane, an aging Tunisian immigrant, who is laid off from his job at a shipyard port, so he pursues his dream of opening a couscous restaurant. With his soft-spoken, droopy demeanor he reminded me of Umberto D. There is an extended sequence involving a family dinner gathering, and we begin to see in great detail how fractured these familial relationships are. Slimane has a mistress (Leila D'Issernio), and is affectionate with her entrepreneurial daughter (Hafsia Herzi), but also seeks the help of his ex-wife (Bouraouia Marzouk), a couscous cook. In the final hour-long sequence, the entire family is brought together to assist Slimane in opening the restaurant, but things don't go according to plan and the occasion turns into a tragic-comedy on French socioeconomics. In a film filled with amazing performances, particularly among all the beautiful women, newcomer Herzi is a standout. An extraordinarily sensual beauty of Algerian and Tunisian descent, Herzi performs an astonishingly vigorous, seductive belly dance that left me agog. Written by Kechiche and Ghalia Lecroix. In French with English subtitles.

    Writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche, a French-Tunisian and a former actor, makes movies portraying a multi-cultural, modern France that have an exquisite intimacy that resonates unlike anything else in contemporary cinema. Kechiche frequently favors extreme close-ups, and lets scenes play out beyond normal dramatic standards, to arrive at an emotional truth without veering into melodrama. This method also allows him the freedom to elicit naturalistic performances from his remarkable cast. Habib Boufares is Slimane, an aging Tunisian immigrant, who is laid off from his job at a shipyard port, so he pursues his dream of opening a couscous restaurant. With his soft-spoken, droopy demeanor he reminded me of Umberto D. There is an extended sequence involving a family dinner gathering, and we begin to see in great detail how fractured these familial relationships are. Slimane has a mistress (Leila D'Issernio), and is affectionate with her entrepreneurial daughter (Hafsia Herzi), but also seeks the help of his ex-wife (Bouraouia Marzouk), a couscous cook. In the final hour-long sequence, the entire family is brought together to assist Slimane in opening the restaurant, but things don't go according to plan and the occasion turns into a tragic-comedy on French socioeconomics. In a film filled with amazing performances, particularly among all the beautiful women, newcomer Herzi is a standout. An extraordinarily sensual beauty of Algerian and Tunisian descent, Herzi performs an astonishingly vigorous, seductive belly dance that left me agog. Written by Kechiche and Ghalia Lecroix. In French with English subtitles.

  • Jul 26, 2014

    I like the characters and feel sympathy and comprehension for them, but that is not enough to make a movie.

    I like the characters and feel sympathy and comprehension for them, but that is not enough to make a movie.

  • Jan 03, 2014

    God, the first half is really boring and it has this over-complicated knot. Thank God the second half is more interesting and mind-provoking. But I think it's overuse the short-range shots and the cinematography & style aren't fresh and interesting. The cinematography just REALLY plain. And it's not really complex, and the actors ability are good. Hafsia Herzi is really excellent while Habib Boufares makes me yawning.

    God, the first half is really boring and it has this over-complicated knot. Thank God the second half is more interesting and mind-provoking. But I think it's overuse the short-range shots and the cinematography & style aren't fresh and interesting. The cinematography just REALLY plain. And it's not really complex, and the actors ability are good. Hafsia Herzi is really excellent while Habib Boufares makes me yawning.

  • Jan 27, 2013

    Neo-realist. Beautiful. Profound. And with the most life like performances I've ever seem captured on film. Modern classic. Essential viewing. One of the best films of the 21st century.

    Neo-realist. Beautiful. Profound. And with the most life like performances I've ever seem captured on film. Modern classic. Essential viewing. One of the best films of the 21st century.

  • Dec 08, 2012

    Exquisite, provocative, gorgeous, subtle...

    Exquisite, provocative, gorgeous, subtle...

  • Aug 17, 2012

    The use of long takes, including long stretches of dialogue, is very impressive and suggests that some of the script may be improvisational. I liked the chit-chat, the small details of daily life (like toilet-training a child), that films normally gloss over. The film has a documentary look and feel and parts are like a fly-on-the-wall at a family gathering. The female performances in the film are particularly affecting, especially the young Hafsia Herzi and her belly dance.

    The use of long takes, including long stretches of dialogue, is very impressive and suggests that some of the script may be improvisational. I liked the chit-chat, the small details of daily life (like toilet-training a child), that films normally gloss over. The film has a documentary look and feel and parts are like a fly-on-the-wall at a family gathering. The female performances in the film are particularly affecting, especially the young Hafsia Herzi and her belly dance.

  • Jul 14, 2012

    A very engrosing drana, that pays attention to the familiarization of the characters, and gives relevance to time. As mentioned in another review, you really are thrust straight into the realm of the immigrant family in France. The character of the step daughter was my most favorite, especially upon seeing her performance in the last 20 minutes or so. Highly exotic. Highly erotic. Half a mark lost for the abruptness of the ending. After sitting through over an enjoyable 2 hours, i felt i desrved a more orthodox ending

    A very engrosing drana, that pays attention to the familiarization of the characters, and gives relevance to time. As mentioned in another review, you really are thrust straight into the realm of the immigrant family in France. The character of the step daughter was my most favorite, especially upon seeing her performance in the last 20 minutes or so. Highly exotic. Highly erotic. Half a mark lost for the abruptness of the ending. After sitting through over an enjoyable 2 hours, i felt i desrved a more orthodox ending

  • May 18, 2012

    vWonderfully directed, beautifully acted. A portrait of everyday Arab immigrant life in France. All about couscous and belly dance. Great!

    vWonderfully directed, beautifully acted. A portrait of everyday Arab immigrant life in France. All about couscous and belly dance. Great!

  • Mar 25, 2012

    Enquanto um dos mais marcantes filmes contemporâneos sobre a família, "The Secret of the Grain" surpreende muito pela maneira como descreve o terramoto emocional vivido numa família árabe a viver em França. "The Secret of the Grain" toma o seu tempo para desenvolver as personagens e o retrato panorâmico que faz das relações deixa sempre o julgamento para quem vê. Algumas situações são prolongadas, alà (C)m do que à (C) aconselhável num filme ritmado, mas a vida tambà (C)m pára para resolver certas coisas e os mà (C)todos do realizador Abdel Kechiche não andarão muito longe do cinema verità (C) de um Cassavetes muito mais interessado em humanizar os seus filmes do que no entretenimento. As revelações são muitas, mas há que destacar o grande desempenho de Hafsia Herzi (deixou-me com o queixo no chão) e a capacidade que o filme tem de deixar alguà (C)m com uma vontade enorme de comer cous-cous, a comida que à (C) quase uma entidade acima de todos os membros naquela família. 4/5

    Enquanto um dos mais marcantes filmes contemporâneos sobre a família, "The Secret of the Grain" surpreende muito pela maneira como descreve o terramoto emocional vivido numa família árabe a viver em França. "The Secret of the Grain" toma o seu tempo para desenvolver as personagens e o retrato panorâmico que faz das relações deixa sempre o julgamento para quem vê. Algumas situações são prolongadas, alà (C)m do que à (C) aconselhável num filme ritmado, mas a vida tambà (C)m pára para resolver certas coisas e os mà (C)todos do realizador Abdel Kechiche não andarão muito longe do cinema verità (C) de um Cassavetes muito mais interessado em humanizar os seus filmes do que no entretenimento. As revelações são muitas, mas há que destacar o grande desempenho de Hafsia Herzi (deixou-me com o queixo no chão) e a capacidade que o filme tem de deixar alguà (C)m com uma vontade enorme de comer cous-cous, a comida que à (C) quase uma entidade acima de todos os membros naquela família. 4/5