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The Secret of the Grain (2007)
"La graine et le mulet" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,671 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 37 user | 102 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

At the port of Sète, Mr. Slimani, a tired 60-year-old, drags himself toward a shipyard job that has become more and more difficult to cope with as the years go by. He is a divorced father ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Habib Boufares ...
Slimane Beiji
...
Rym
Farida Benkhetache ...
Karima
Abdelhamid Aktouche ...
Hamid
Alice Houri ...
Julia
Bouraouïa Marzouk ...
Souad
Cyril Favre ...
Serguei
Leila D'Issernio ...
Lilia
Abelkader Djeloulli ...
Kader
Bruno Lochet ...
Mario
...
José
Sami Zitouni ...
Majid
...
Olfa
Mohamed Benabdeslem ...
Riadh
Hatika Karaoui ...
Latifa
Edit

Storyline

At the port of Sète, Mr. Slimani, a tired 60-year-old, drags himself toward a shipyard job that has become more and more difficult to cope with as the years go by. He is a divorced father who forces himself to stay close to his family despite the schisms and tensions that are easily sparked off and that financial difficulties make even more intense. He is going through a delicate period in his life and, recently, everything seems to make him feel useless: a failure. He wants to escape from it all and set up his own restaurant. However, it appears to be an unreachable dream given his meager, irregular salary that is not anywhere near enough to supply what he needs to realize his ambition. But he can still dream and talk about it with his family in particular. A family that gradually gives its support to this project, which comes to symbolize the means to a better life. Thanks to its ingeniousness and hard work, this dream soon becomes a reality...or almost.... Written by Venice Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Best French Film of the Year See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

12 December 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Secret of the Grain  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,864 (USA) (2 January 2009)

Gross:

$86,356 (USA) (27 February 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shooting was supposed to start in the summer of 2005 but one of the leading actors was sick, which resulted in a major delay. Thus, filming actually started on 5 September 2005 and was still running by 16 January 2006. The set was on a boat in the port of Sète for at least six weeks from October to December 2006. Outside temperatures were very low, as opposed to what they should have been if schedule could have been held. This led the production to set up large tents near the boat with heating systems for the actors and extras to remain comfortable between takes. See more »

Quotes

Julia: [talking to Slimane about her husband] Is that a family man ?
Serguei: Never there for his kid.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Flipped (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Would You Like Some Nice Sauce On Your Couscous?
29 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the grand tradition of film dealing with food as a central centerpiece,'La Graine Et Le Mulet' (released in the U.S.& other English speaking countries as 'The Secret Of The Grain') can easily be placed with other films such as 'Eat,Drink,Man,Woman','Big Night' & 'Babbette's Feast'. Slimane,a sixty something ship yard worker is being pressured by his boss to step down,due to the fact that he's not as fast as the younger men who are working the docks. All of this,plus the pressures of dealing with an ex-wife,who scolds him for non payment of alimony,plus his sons & daughters,who are constantly arguing with each other,as well as their own families is having an effect on his life. Slimane's dream is to refurbish a boat & turn it into a floating restaurant that serves up traditional North African cuisine (with CousCous,the star attraction). After procuring the funds,not to mention going through the bureaucratic b.s. that's necessary for an undertaking of this sort, Slimane is on to realizing his dream. Abdel Kechiche writes & directs a fine story of family bonds & over coming hurdles (or at least trying to over come hurdles). Habib Boufares plays a weary looking Slimane. The rest of the cast is made up of various folk from Tunesia,France & other places. The camera work (by Lubomir Bakchev) opts for a documentary look that really works for this film (as the documentary look also worked fine for 'The Class',earlier this year). If I have any quirk with this film, at two & a half hours,plus,it's a wee bit long in the tooth (several scenes could have been either trimmed,or even cut out,which would not have hurt the films integrity in the least). Make sure you enjoy a full meal before you undertake this film (as you'll be really hungry after wards). Spoken mostly in French & Arabic with English subtitles. Not rated,but contains raunchy language,brief flashes of nudity & some muted sexual content


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