Set in France during the struggle for Algerian independence, Messaoud's mother is terminally ill and his father, needing to work long hours in the factory, can't look after him, so decides ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Samy Seghir ...
Messaoud / Michou
Medy Kerouani ...
Akli (as Fellag)
Catherine Hiegel ...
La directrice de l'orphelinat
Le cafetier
Bernard Yerlès ...
Le copain de Georges
Gérald Laroche ...
Chick Ortega ...
Vendeuse papeterie
Gilles Détroit ...
Le curé
Ludovic Berthillot ...


Set in France during the struggle for Algerian independence, Messaoud's mother is terminally ill and his father, needing to work long hours in the factory, can't look after him, so decides to put him and his older brother Abdel in foster care. Sent to the countryside, Abdel has to work on a farm, but Messaoud is taken in by a childless woman, who conceals his Arab origins from her fiercely Gaullist ex-army husband. Re-named Michel/Michou, and with his hair comically dyed blond, the young boy quickly steals the hearts of both foster-parents, and eventually is instrumental in saving their troubled marriage. Written by Graham Inglis

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Release Date:

28 February 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le'ehov et Michou  »

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Did You Know?


Michou is referring to a famous series on TV in France, Thierry la Fronde, which aired for the first time in 1963, which is two or three years later as the war in Algeria is not over yet according to the plot. See more »

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User Reviews

Came The Dawn
11 January 2012 | by See all my reviews

Anyone who has seen and admired Le Grand Chemin will enjoy and/or admire this film which has much in common with the former. In both films a city-boy is sent to live in rural France because his parent(s)are unable to look after him temporarily and in each case his presence in a new family serves as a healing process between his adoptive parents. The parallels - rip-offs if you will - end there because here we have an extra dimension and it is political. In Le Grand Chemin the protagonist's mother was having another child so she prevailed upon a friend in the country to take the boy in for several months. In Michou D'Auber the mother of two sons is hospitalized and the father needs to work extra hours to pay for her medicare so the boys are placed with Social Services who farm them out to different families. So far so ordinary but now comes the twist; the family are Algerians and we are in 1960 or the heart of the mini-crisis between France and Algeria which culminated in Algeria gaining independence. The woman who agrees to take the younger brother, Nathalie Baye, is childless and married to a DeGaullist or anti-Algerian. She solves this potential dilemma by dyeing the boy's hair blonde and passing him off as French. Depardieu comes to 1) love the boy and 2)realize his true origins. Depardieu and virtually all his friends in the provincial town are rampant DeGaullists which makes for some violent confrontations when the boy's nationality is revealed. The Depardieu/Baye marriage has grown stagnant and both indulge in extra marital activity yet their love for the boy and determination to defend him against the hatred of the town re-ignites their own love. Actors of the caliber of Depardieu, Baye and Mattieu Almaric (who plays Baye's lover) don't do mediocre and all three performances are outstanding. Not perhaps to everyone's taste but a fine effort nevertheless.

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