Magazine article New Internationalist

Couscous (la Graine et le Mulet)

Magazine article New Internationalist

Couscous (la Graine et le Mulet)

Article excerpt

Couscous (La Graine et Le Mulet)

written and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche (151 minutes)

Slimane has worked 35 years in the shipyards in Sète, France. He's worn down, can't keep up with the new schedules, and he's laid off. His dream has always been to open a restaurant, and hey, in a corner of the docks there's a rusting hulk about to be dismantled for scrap. He buys it - it's going to be his restaurant.

Slimane wants to regain his dignity - to make up, as a friend says, for the humiliations and suffering of their life in France, and to give his children something, to show it wasn't all for nothing.

It's a long film, and the ending unconvincing, but it's worth it for the complexity of social relationships. Slimane is divorced and has his extended first family - two sons and four daughters - but he now lives with a girlfriend and stepdaughter, who run a bar and hotel. …

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