150 minutes, France, 2007, Subtitled, Colour, 35mm

Couscous, winner of Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at the Césars, sees North African emigrant Slimane (Habib Boufares) edged towards redundancy by the availability of even cheaper transient labour. Adamant that he wants to leave something behind for his children, he sinks everything into his dream of a floating couscous restaurant in the town’s tourist-magnet harbour. 

As Kechiche lets the camera roll on family gatherings and mounting emotional crises, there’s a palpable feeling of documentary-style authenticity, where the warmth of a generous Sunday lunch later gives way to simmering animosities between the protagonist’s children with different women. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

This film is screening as part of the Abdellatif Kechiche Programme  which continues during the Carte Noire IFI French Film Festival (November 20th – December 1st 2013). The programme coincides with the release of Abdellatif Kechiche’s latest work and fifth film, Blue is the Warmest Colour.

The full season features all of Abdellatif Kechiche’s previous films: Blame it on Voltaire (2000); Games of Love and Chance (2003); and Black Venus (2010).

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