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The Great Journey (2004)

Le grand voyage (original title)
Reda, a young French-Moroccan guy and his old father drive from the south of France to Mecca in order for the father to do his pilgrimage. At first distant, they gradually learn to know each other.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cazalé ...
Reda
Mohamed Majd ...
The Father
Jacky Nercessian ...
Mustapha
Ghina Ognianova ...
La vieille femme
Kamel Belghazi ...
Khalid
Atik Mohamed ...
Le pélerin Ahmad
Malika Mesrar El Hadaoui ...
La mère
François Baroni ...
Le douanier italien
Krassi Kpacu ...
Le douanier serbe
Kirill Kavadarkov ...
Le barman yougoslave
Blajo Wymenski ...
L'homme du change
Diyan Machev ...
L'homme bavard (as Dean Matchev)
Erol Atac ...
Douanier turc 1 (as Erol Ataç)
Sadik Deveci ...
Douanier turc 2
Nihat Nikerel ...
Chef policier turc
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Storyline

Reda, summoned to accompany his father on a pilgrimage to Mecca, complies reluctantly - as he preparing for his baccalaureat and, even more important, has a secret love relationship. The trip across Europe in a broken-down car is also the departure of his father: upon arrival in Mecca, both Reda and his father are not the characters they were at the start of the movie. Avoiding the hackneyed theme of the return to the homeland, the film uses the departure to renew a connection between two generation. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A voyage beyond corporal life

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

24 November 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Journey  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Reda: Why didn't you fly to Mecca? It's a lot simpler.
The Father: When the waters of the ocean rise to the heavens, they lose their bitterness to become pure again...
Reda: What?
The Father: The ocean waters evaporate as they rise to the clouds. And as they evaporate they become fresh. That's why it's better to go on your pilgrimage on foot than on horseback, better on horseback than by car, better by car than by boat, better by boat than by plane.
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Connections

Featured in Humbert Balsan, producteur rebelle (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Insha'Allah: The Durability of a Father/Son Relationship
1 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

LE GRAND VOYAGE is a gentle miracle of a film, a work made more profound because of its understated script by writer/director Ismaël Ferroukhi who allows the natural scenery of this 'road trip' story and the sophisticated acting of the stars Nicolas Cazalé and Mohamed Majd to carry the emotional impact of the film. Ferroukhi's vision is very capably enhanced by the cinematography of Katell Djian (a sensitive mixture of travelogue vistas of horizons and tightly photographed duets between characters) and the musical score by Fowzi Guerdjou who manages to maintain some beautiful themes throughout the film while paying homage to the many local musical variations from the numerous countries the film surveys.

Reda (Nicolas Cazalé) lives with his Muslim family in Southern France, a young student with a Western girlfriend who does not seem to be following the religious direction of his heritage. His elderly father (Mohamed Majd) has decided his time has come to make his Hadj to Mecca, and being unable to drive, requests the reluctant Reda to forsake his personal needs to drive him to his ultimate religious obligation. The two set out in a fragile automobile to travel through France, into Italy, and on through Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, and Turkey to Saudi Arabia. Along the trip Reda pleads with his father to visit some of the interesting sights, but his father remains focused on the purpose of the journey and Reda is irritably left to struggle with his father's demands. On their pilgrimage they encounter an old woman (Ghina Ognianova) who attaches herself to the two men and must eventually be deserted by Reda, a Turkish man Mustapha (Jacky Nercessian) who promises to guide the father/son duo but instead brings about a schism by getting Reda drunk in a bar and disappearing, and countless border patrol guards and custom agents who delay their progress for various reasons. Tensions between father and son mount: Reda cannot understand the importance of this pilgrimage so fraught with trials and mishaps, and the father cannot comprehend Reda's insensitivity to the father's religious beliefs and needs. At last they reach Mecca where they are surrounded by hoards of pilgrims from all around the world and the sensation of trip's significance is overwhelming to Reda. The manner in which the story comes to a close is touching and rich with meaning. It has taken a religious pilgrimage to restore the gap between youth and old age, between son and father, and between defiance and acceptance of religious values.

The visual impact of this film is extraordinary - all the more so because it feels as though the camera just 'happens' to catch the beauty of the many stopping points along the way without the need to enhance them with special effects. Nicolas Cazalé is a superb actor (be sure to see his most recent and currently showing film 'The Grocer's Son') and it is his carefully nuanced role that brings the magic to this film. Another fine film from The Film Movement, this is a tender story brilliantly told. Highly recommended.

Grady Harp


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