7.0/10
358
3 user

Tea in the Harem (1985)

Le thé au harem d'Archimède (original title)
In a depressing concrete Parisian suburb in the seventies two friends are keeping boredom at bay with loitering and petty crime.

Director:

Mehdi Charef

Writers:

Mehdi Charef, Mehdi Charef (novel)
Reviews
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Graziella (2015)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A soulful examination of two defeated middle-aged characters who aren't sure that life holds the possibility of a second act. As prisoners who form a connection while employed together on ... See full summary »

Director: Mehdi Charef
Stars: Rossy de Palma, Denis Lavant, Claire Nebout
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Raissa, Henriette and Theresa have completed several years of their long prison sentences. On their first 24 hours vacation the traffic employees are on strike. So the three meet and spend ... See full summary »

Director: Mehdi Charef
Stars: Laure Duthilleul, Claire Nebout, Maria Schneider
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An alcoholic man wants to return the money he has borrowed.

Director: Ermanno Olmi
Stars: Rutger Hauer, Anthony Quayle, Sandrine Dumas
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An extraordinary story of a young woman raised in Switzerland who travels back to Algeria, her birthplace, to meet and kill her natural mother, who abandoned her shortly after birth. Along ... See full summary »

Director: Mehdi Charef
Stars: Cylia Malki, Baya Belal, Jean-Roger Milo
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A pair of childhood friends spend a spring together before the summer Algeria's war of Independence.

Director: Mehdi Charef
Stars: Mohamed Faouzi Ali Cherif, Thomas Millet, Tolga Cayir
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Harun Farocki
Stars: Kader Boukhanef, Rémi Martin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kader Boukhanef Kader Boukhanef ... Madjid
Rémi Martin Rémi Martin ... Pat
Laure Duthilleul Laure Duthilleul ... Josette
Saïda Bekkouche Saïda Bekkouche ... Malika
Nicole Hiss Nicole Hiss ... Solange
Brahim Ghenaim Brahim Ghenaim ... The father
Nathalie Jadot Nathalie Jadot ... Chantal
Frédéric Ayivi Frédéric Ayivi ... Bengston
Pascal Dewaeme Pascal Dewaeme ... Thierry
Sandrine Dumas ... Anita
Bourlem Guerdjou ... Bibiche
Jean-Pierre Sobeaux Jean-Pierre Sobeaux ... Jean-Marc
Nicolas Wostrikoff Nicolas Wostrikoff ... Stéphane
Hugues Amesland Hugues Amesland ... (as Hughes Amesland)
Santiago Bejarano-Chaux Santiago Bejarano-Chaux
Edit

Storyline

In a depressing concrete Parisian suburb in the seventies two friends are keeping boredom at bay with loitering and petty crime.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | Arabic

Release Date:

6 June 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tea in the Harem See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,375, 8 June 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$18,216
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in P.R.O.F.S. (1985) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Only Weapon Is Friendship
27 April 2000 | by two-riversSee all my reviews

Madjid, a son of Algerian immigrants, and his friend Pat are condemned to spend their youth in the dreary concrete blocks of a Parisian suburb. They are seventeen years old and, as they have already left school, there is nothing much to do for them. An incorporation into working life fails due to the lack of efforts (Pat) or the racism of the job center employees, who do not accept Madjid's unwillingness to adopt French citizenship. Not surprisingly they both end up as criminals and alternately act as pickpockets, car thieves, burglars, robbers or pimps.

But the descent of the young leading characters into the maelstrom of delinquency is by no means the only topic treated by a film whose intention it is to portray as many facets as possible of this suburban society. There are numerous other characters, too, who all have their own tragic story to tell. Just take Justine, a young drug addict, who never leaves his refuge in the basement of the apartment house. Or take Solange, an alcoholic prostitute, who carries on her trade in the huts of immigrant workers. Mr Levesque has alcohol problems, too, and when he is under the influence he beats up his wife and daughter. Josette, on the other hand, is no longer abused by a violent husband; she is left alone with her child Stéphane, and when unemployment is added to her distress the situation culminates in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Pat's sister is not out of work, but instead of the office job she claims to occupy, she works in a Parisian red light district, where one day she sadly is detected by Madjid...

The only one who seems to have come to grips with his life is Balou, who used to be the class loser, and who finally ran away after he had been teased one time too often by his mates. Now he returns as an upstart underworld boss, in a classy car, lighting his Havana with a fivehundred franc note.

This is only a small selection, but it illustrates what the film wants to make clear: The world of the Parisian suburbs is grey and dismal, and every attempt to lead an existence that is worth living is nipped in the bud. It is therefore not surprising that the adolescents try to escape from it. In a stolen Mercedes they drive to the sea, and it is there that they experience the wide distance that stands for a dream of freedom - at least temporarily. For the moment of ecstatic euphoria is extremely short-lived and is soon ended by an approaching police car. Madjid is arrested without any resistance, it seems as if he has realized the pointlessness of fight in a world that has already determined their journey through life without mercy and does not offer any scope for a positive change.

But the movie at least sends us away with a touch of hope. Pat breaks off from his escape and positions himself at the roadside in order to wait for the police car in which Madjid is held. When it arrives he raises his arm like a hitch-hiker would do. For him the loss of friendship carries more weight than the renunciation of a freedom that has proved to be an illusion anyway. If you do not stand a chance to hold your own in this world and to fulfill your dreams, at least there is one consoling certainty to which you can cling: You are not alone.


18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed