Couscous / La Graine et le Mulet
Year of release: 2007
Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
When Slimane, a North African shipyard worker in the French Mediterranean town of Sète, is pushed into early retirement, he decides to use the redundancy money to buy an old boat in the harbour and open a couscous restaurant. The film charts the various obstacles he encounters and the support his extended family and friends provide along the way.
Couscous is one of a growing number of films about the diasporic family that centres around 'ethnic' food. The preparation and consumption of this quintessentially North African meal within the circle of the family and at the opening night of the restaurant is the film's central metaphor along which the family's 'Frenchness' or 'otherness' are negotiated.
For a synopsis and discussion, see Ginette Vincendeau's review of Couscous in Sight & Sound, July 2008