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The Secret of the Grain (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

26 customer reviews

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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Winner of four César awards, including best picture and director, Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Secret of the Grain is a stirring drama about the daily joys and struggles of a bustling French-Arab family. It has the texture of a documentary but a classic, almost Shakespearean structure: when patriarch Slimane acts on his wish to open a port-side restaurant specializing in his ex-wife’s fish couscous, the extended clan’s passions and problems explode in riveting drama, leading to an engrossing, suspenseful climax. With sensitivity and grit, The Secret of the Grain celebrates the role food plays in family life and gets to the core of contemporary immigrant experience.

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer
  • New video interview with Kechiche
  • Sueur, Kechiche's extended version of the belly dancing sequence
  • New video interview with film scholar Ludovic Cortade
  • Excerpt from a 20 heures television interview with Kechiche
  • Video interviews with Herzi, actress Bouraouia Marzouk
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Wesley Morris

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Habib Boufares
    • Directors: Abdellatif Kechiche
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: French
    • Subtitles: English
    • Dubbed: Arabic
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: Unrated
    • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
    • Run Time: 154 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B003ICZW8W
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,883 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Secret of the Grain (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on December 4, 2008
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    ***** 2007. Written and directed by Abdel Kechiche. Four French Academy awards (Best movie, director, writing and promising actress), Prix Louis Delluc and five awards in Venice. The difficult integration of the Arab born community in the social life of the Port of Sète, France. After Games of Love and Chance, a movie that was also chosen as best French film in 2003, Abdel Kechiche returns with this allegorical vision of integration. The French title, LA GRAINE ET LE MULET aka The Seed and the Mullet refers to the culinary specialty, a couscous with fish, the hero of THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN wants to propose in his restaurant. If you consider that, on top of this important theme, magnificently handled, the performance of the actors is human and natural, you'll understand why this film has to be considered as the best French film of last year. A masterpiece that should already be in your library.
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    Format: Blu-ray
    In 2007, the French-Tunisian film "La graine et le mulet" (translation - "The Grain and the Mulet") from the award-winning director Abdellatif Kechiche would become an award winning film and would also introduce the world to a young actress named Hafsia Herzi.

    The film would win "Best French Film", "Best Director", "Best Original Screenplay" and "Most Promising Actress" at the 2008 Cesar Awards, "Best Director" at the 2007 Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival and would also win an award for "Special Jury Prize", "Marcello Mastrioianni Price" (for actor actress in a debut role for Hafsia Herzi, "Signis Award" and a nomination for the "Golden Lion" Award at the 2007 Film Festival.

    The English title for the award-winning film, "The Secret of the Grain", will now be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of The Criterion Collection.


    "The Secret of the Grain" is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1:85:1 and shot digitally via a HD Sony 900. According to the Criterion Collection, the high-definition master was converted directly from the Digital Intermediate color space to SMPTE Rec. 709 24fps 1080p and approved by director Abdellatif Kechiche.

    This film sports amazing detail. The colors are vibrant and contrast and blacks are consistent through the film. Closeup shots look fantastic as you can see the skin pores especially the tears flowing down the face of Rym. I was very pleased with the colors and overall picture quality of this film.
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    15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amateur curmudgeon VINE VOICE on May 19, 2009
    Format: DVD
    The French have a habit of making movies that start off very slow, and then capture your attention, not with action, but with emotion and story. This is the case with this story about a shipyard worker that is getting laid off. The tensions that emerge, with his nagging ex-wife, his children and their families, with whom he keeps as close as he can, and his girlfriend and her daughter who thinks of him as a father, combine with his efforts to open a restaurant on a boat that he bought.
    What could have been a testament to tenacity, the power of love, friendship, community and family however becomes a moral tale where the morale is: "Why bother?"
    The belly dance scene by the girlfriend's daughter Rym (Hafsia Herzi) trying to save the restaurant is outstanding. At the end, just as everyone, friends and enemies, are pitching in to save the day, the director decides to finish the story, not as an elegy, or an inspiring tale, but as a mockery to the power of human effort.
    It reminded me of "The Bicycle Thief" Only in color.
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    5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Diana Faillace Von Behren TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2009
    Format: DVD
    Is there a secret to the grain?

    Not really, its like good lasagna to a second/third/fourth generation Southern Italian American family gathered around a dinner table somewhere in a bedroom community of New York City. The wonderful earthy kitchen aromas of tomato sauce, perfectly spiced meatballs and Parmigiana Reggiano lend a sensual ambiance that lulls these assimilated would-have-been peasants from the Old World into a cultural time capsule that transcends all the homogenization (education/refinement/development) that the New World has to offer.

    Director Abdel Kechiche understands this need for Old World familiar. In his film "La Graine et le Mulet" (The Grain and the Mullet) his characters savor the Tunisian dish of couscous and fish as the one universal crowd pleaser that sensually nourishes and positively unites all the film's characters (North African immigrants and the ensuing Beur generation of French-born, Verlan-speaking, traditionally Arabic albeit French citizens) otherwise burdened in varying degrees dependent on age and generation by simple survival in an adopted country (France) where assimilation flounders on culturally diverse ground.

    Kechiche exquisitely renders the lives of 61 year-old Slimane (Habib Boufares and his large family with a deft pointillist's love of detail that seems so natural as to be unscripted and unedited. Mundane slices of everyday life are studied almost to the audience's saturation point--Kechiche's camera shifts with a tremulous vibrato as it picks up facial details and seemingly meaningless gesticulations during family conversations revolving around potty training and marital life.
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