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La graine et le mulet
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The Secret of the Grain (2007) More at IMDbPro »La graine et le mulet (original title)

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Overview

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Release Date:
12 December 2007 (Belgium) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The Best French Film of the Year See more »
Plot:
At the port of Sète, Mr. Slimani, a tired 60-year-old, drags himself toward a shipyard job that has... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
19 wins & 6 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(72 articles)
User Reviews:
A rich, varied, multi-layered family drama See more (37 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Habib Boufares ... Slimane Beiji

Hafsia Herzi ... 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

Olivier Loustau ... José
Sami Zitouni ... Majid

Sabrina Ouazani ... Olfa
Mohamed Benabdeslem ... Riadh
Hatika Karaoui ... Latifa
Henri Rodriguez ... Henri
Nadia Taoul ... Sarah (as Nadia Taouil)
Jeanne Corporon ... La banquière
Francis Arnaud ... Monsieur Gruault
Henri Cohen ... Claude Dorner
Violaine de Carne ... Madeleine Dorner (as Violaine De Carné)
Hélène Geier ... La douanière (as Hélene Geier)
Ezzadine Bouzid ... Aziz
Salah Eldin Mohamed ... Salah
Rabah Khalfa ... Rabah
Idwar Iskandar ... Idwar
Benhaïssa Ahouari ... Aïssa (as Benaïssa Ahaouari)
Rosalie Symon ... Marie
Carole Franck ... La voisine de Guy
Gilbert Rouvière ... Le compagnon de la banquière
Nourdine Midoun ... Thomas
Abderrahmane Zeroual ... Fouad
Khadidja Taoul ... Madame Jilani
Claude Geraud ... La mouette
Mélèze Bouzid ... Azza
José Rodriguez ... Houcine
Axel Yahimi ... Maxime
Safia Khanchaf ... Safia
François Rodriguez ... Hakim
Nadia Daïf ... Nadia
Flore Hamidani ... Sonia
Sylvain Phan ... Farzit
Tarik Alhakeue ... Jeune de la cité
Mohamed Amry ... Jeune de la cité
Kader Boulanouar ... Jeune de la cité
Magid Dahou ... Jeune de la cité
Abdelazaid Douich ... Jeune de la cité
Adil Iben El Madani ... Jeune de la cité
Brahim Oulmadani ... Jeune de la cité
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paloma Casanova ... Une invitée du bateau
Gilles Matheron ... Un invité du bateau
Doris Stern ... Une invitée du bateau
Salah Zaït ... Un invité du bateau
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Directed by
Abdellatif Kechiche 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Abdellatif Kechiche 

Produced by
Claude Berri .... producer
Pierre Grunstein .... executive producer
Nathalie Rheims .... associate producer
 
Cinematography by
Lubomir Bakchev 
 
Film Editing by
Ghalia Lacroix 
Camille Toubkis 
 
Casting by
Morgane Bourhis 
Anne Fremiot 
Monya Galbi 
 
Production Design by
Benoît Barouh 
 
Art Direction by
Christophe Couzon 
 
Costume Design by
Maria Beloso-Hall 
 
Makeup Department
Severine Marla Levy .... hair creations
Jean-Christophe Roger .... key makeup artist
France Rossi .... key hair stylist
 
Production Management
Kader Bouallaga .... assistant unit manager
Anne Farrer .... assistant unit manager
Benjamin Hess .... unit production manager
Sophie Hossard .... assistant production manager
Benoît Pilot .... post-production manager
Benoît Pilot .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Morgane Bourhis .... second assistant director
Carlo Da Fonseca Parsotam .... first assistant director
Raphaël De Vellis .... second assistant director
Monya Galbi .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Christophe Couzon .... first assistant decorator
Jérôme Perrier .... carpenter
 
Sound Department
Eric Armbruster .... sound
Mélanie Blouin .... assistant sound editor
Yannick Boulot .... sound recordist
Nicolas Bourgeois .... additional sound editor
Roberto Cappannelli .... sound re-recording mixer
Jérôme Chenevoy .... boom operator
Nicolas Delcroix .... boom operator
Marc Doisne .... sound re-recording mixer
Xavier Drouault .... foley artist
Jean-Paul Hurier .... sound mixer
Olivier Laurent .... sound editor
Eric LeGarçon .... dialog editor
Gréggory Poncelet .... sound recordist (as Grégory Poncelet)
Xavier Prêtre .... boom operator
Nicolas Waschkowski .... sound
 
Visual Effects by
Aurélie Villard .... CG artist: 2D
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Gabriele Buti .... assistant camera
Sofian El Fani .... camera operator
Bertrand Etienne .... assistant camera
Geoff Millet .... electrician
Mathieu Normand .... first assistant camera: test shoots
Olivier Regent .... gaffer
Mathieu Szpiro .... electrician
Fabrice Sébille .... Steadicam operator (as Fabrice Sebille)
 
Editorial Department
Bénédicte Cazauran .... assistant editor
Nicolas Criqui .... digital conformation
 
Music Department
Christian Chevalier .... music clearance
 
Other crew
Dominique Arcé .... script supervisor
Sylvie Coen .... general counsel
François Guerrar .... press attache (as François Hassan Guerrar)
Nicole Heitzmann .... production accountant
Emile Ploix .... assistant production accountant
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La graine et le mulet" - France (original title)
"Couscous" - International (English title), UK
"Grain and Mullet" - International (English title) (literal title)
See more »
Runtime:
151 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

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 »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
A rich, varied, multi-layered family drama, 1 February 2009
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Tunisian born French director Abdellatif Kechiche's third feature Secret of the Grain is dedicated to his father whose silence after a long day of hard work reflects the demeanor of the film's lead protagonist, Slimane Beiji (Habib Boufares), a Tunisian immigrant who has been laid off from his job in the shipyards after thirty five years. Winner of best picture, director, screen play and actress awards at the 2008 Cesar Awards, the film is not a Loach-type work of social consciousness but a rich, varied, multi-layered family drama that is universal in its appeal. Although the English title of the film suggests there is some secret held by the grain, the only secret in Secret of the Grain is how Kechiche manages to seamlessly weld together into a cohesive whole such disparate elements as the traditions of great cooking, the problems immigrants confront when dealing with white authority, and the desire to leave a legacy to your children.

Set in the French coastal village of Séte on the Mediterranean, the grain in the title refers to couscous, a diet staple of Tunisian immigrants and a dish that Slimane hopes to use to turn a dilapidated old boat into a profitable restaurant with his ex-wife Souad (Bouraouia Marzouk) doing the cooking. Shot with a hand-held camera that bobs and weaves through long takes of eating, animated dinner conversations, and emotional family disputes, the 151-minute Secret of the Grain has the authenticity you would expect if you accidentally stumbled into a Greek restaurant where an animated family dinner was taking place. In a scene at one of the two family dinners that take up half of the film, the length and variety of facial close-ups of people chewing, laughing, and talking in multi-cultural accents is staggering.

The centerpiece of the film is Slimane and his clan consisting of his two sons, five daughters, grandchildren, his ex-wife Souad, his lover Latifa (Hatika Karaoui), and her fiery twenty-year-old daughter Rym (Hafsia Herzi) who adores Slimane and whose energy and business acumen is the catalyst for his risky venture. Slimane, a man of sixty-one whose periods of silence stand in sharp contrast to the loquaciousness of his family, lives in a modest room in a weather-beaten hotel run by Latifa. A generous man, Slimane collects fish from his fisherman friends and delivers them each week to Souad, his older daughter Karima (Faridah Benkhetache); and Latifa.

The first hour delves into mundane family matters. When Slimane visits his eldest daughter Karima (Farida Benkhetache) to deliver some fish, Karima's anger at her three year-old daughter who refuses the potty dominates the conversation which continues for almost ten minutes interspersed with comments about the decline of the shipping industry. Other extended domestic scenes revolve around the escapades of Slimane's irresponsible son Majid (Sami Zitouni) whose extra-marital affairs threaten to drive his Russian wife Julia (Alice Houri) out of the family. The idea of starting a restaurant at age sixty-one raises much skepticism in the community and Slimane's plans are considered too thin and too unsupported by economic reality by the bank he asks for a loan.

To prove the worth of his idea, however, Slimane invites one hundred city officials, potential investors, friends and family to the boat that he, Rym, and his son Riadh (Mohamed Benabdeslem) painstakingly renovated. The opening night turns out to be an astonishing tour de force that combines life-affirming exuberance, sensual music and belly dancing, and an avoidable crisis that leads to heightened family tension and a suspenseful final half hour. Kechiche, a former movie and TV actor, has assembled an outstanding ensemble cast with first rate performances, especially from Boufares and Herzi. Though the film has many discussions about food, it is not a feel-good "food movie" but a complex, deeply intense narrative that elevates one family's personal struggles into a drama of epic scope.

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