The Secret of the Grain

Released 2007


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Abdel Kechiche
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The Secret of the Grain is a 2007 drama, directed by Abdel Kechiche, about a middle-aged man who leaves his mundane job to open his dream restaurant despite family unrest. Slimane (Habib Bufares) has been a blue-collar worker for over 35 years, working at the shipyard where he has become increasingly disgruntled with the job. Set in Western France, Slimane's family are Indian immigrants who have worked hard for very little, but now he is willing to take the risk of fulfilling his dream of opening his own fish restaurant in this seaside community. Soon, Slimane is laid off from his day job and that dream seems impossible. However, he comes across a wrecked ship boat and works tirelessly to begin building his dream restaurant. Amidst Slimane's own story is a largely dysfunctional, but loyal family that includes four children, an ex-wife (Bouraouia Marzouk) and his lover (Hatika Karaoui). Every Sunday, the children meet at his ex-wife's house for some of her famous fish and talk life and love. Slimane soon learns that his eldest son (Abdelhamid Aktouche) is having an extra-marital affair and rejecting his vows and infant son due to his own wants and needs. The parallels to his own situation makes Slimane think twice about the choices he has made and whether it is all worth it in the end.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 100

    The New York Times 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 wi...

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Rather than observing this family, we feel we are part of it, and that draws us in as nothing else can.

  • 50


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

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