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

4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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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
      Not Rated
    • Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
    • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
    • Run Time: 154 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B003ICZW8W
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,415 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

    Top Customer Reviews

    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.

    VIDEO:

    "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. The outdoor scenes were just beautiful and really showcasing plenty of colors while the nighttime scenes did have some noise but overall, I was quite pleased with the film and its PQ.

    AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

    "The Secret of the Grain" is presented in French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
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    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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    Format: Blu-ray
    Film director Abdel Kechiche became so involved with the footage for the picture La Graine et le Mulet (The Secret of the Grain) which tells the story of a big dysfunctional family of Tunisian immigrants in the southern French port town of Sete that he could not part with a smallest parts of it. He dedicated the film to his father, and I would not be surprised to find out that the film characters with their traditions, everyday problems, struggles, hopes, and losses were written by Abdel Kechiche from his own family, and the story he tells was inspired by his own growing up. The Secret of the Grain is compelling and personal movie but Kechiche either should have taken another editor or let them use the scissors without reservation. The movie is long with many scenes practically begging of being significantly trimmed. It does not apply to all scenes. Some are amazingly acted, and I would not miss a second of the scene where young Rym (Hafsia Herzi) is trying to convince her mother Lilia to go to the big party in the final part of the film. A newcomer Hafsia Herzi is a born actress, and a good one. She is without a doubt a very promising talent with huge potential but her endless belly-dancing in the final was just that - endless and boring. I get the purpose of the scene but its length and the camera peering at Hafsia's belly for what seems hours, totally kills it.

    Kechiche shot the film in Cinéma vérité style, and while it works and lets us actually get to know the characters, overlong monologues and conversations often made me feel like watching a reality talk show which is a completely different genre altogether.
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