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The Secret of the Grain(La graine et le mulet)

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France · 2007
2h 31m
Director Abdellatif Kechiche
Starring Habib Boufares, Hafsia Herzi, Farida Benkhetache, Abdelhamid Aktouche
Genre Comedy, Drama

In southern France, Simane Beiji, a Franco-Arabic shipyard worker, is fired from his job. Determined to leave a legacy and some money for his beloved family, Simane pursues his dream of opening a restaurant and is assisted by the daughter of his long-term partner in this heartfelt film full of family and delicious meals.

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Variety by

An overlong, dramatically unbalanced picture whose emotional wallop gets somewhat diffused.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

An entire family chronicle, along with four decades of French social and economic history, is recapitulated as a lavish, hectic dinner, complete with music and belly dancing. It will leave you stunned and sated, having savored an intimate and sumptuous epic of elation and defeat, jealousy and tenderness, life and death, grain and fish.


New York Daily News by Elizabeth Weitzman

Kechiche takes his time, allowing us to know the characters as if we live next door. But be warned: for those who come to feel like a member of the family, the unexpected end may seem strikingly unfair.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

Escalates into visceral allegory with an abandon and cruelty that seem positively Romanian. The last 30 minutes more than redeem the preceding two hours.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

The title embraces the richness of Kechiche's beautiful film, which captures the rhythms of displacement and hardship, the bond of family meals, and even the daily routines of the magnificent women who are part of Slimane's life.


The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

A penchant for suffocating close-ups and an overabundance of scenes that go on far too long mar Abdellatif Kechiche's The Secret of the Grain, an otherwise engaging drama about an immigrant Arab family in France.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

The Secret Of The Grain stretches out at the relaxed pace of a seven-course meal, but at the end of it, Kechiche has squeezed the most he can out of percolating dramas within the family and he lets the audience get to know its members without needing to throw them all a subplot.

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