Tea in the Harem / Le thé au harem d’Archiméde
Year of release: 1985
Directed by: Mehdi Charef
Based on Mehdi Charef's novel of the same title, Charef's début feature film tells the story of Majid, a young beur, who lives with his family in one of the housing estates of the Parisian banlieue.
Majid's best friend is Pat, also 17 years old and, like him unemployed. He ran away from his family and lives in the dark, dank cellars of the housing estate together with other disenfranchised youth. Majid would like to become a driving instructor but is not given a chance to realise his ambition. Majid's mothers supports her large family by juggling numerous jobs while the father is traumatised, unable to work and speak.
One day Balou, whom his friends on the housing estate had mocked and who had disappeared, returns in an American car, full of money and a blond woman on the backseat. Balou's appearance inspires Pat, Majid and his friends with hope. In a stolen Mercedes they drive to the seaside, escaping from the misery around them. But Majid gets arrested. Pat manages to escape at first but ultimately joins his friend in the police car that takes him away.