Levantine Cultural Center presents an exclusive screening and discussion of the critical hit that took France by storm in 2008, winning a César for Best Film, from writer/director Abdellatif Kachiche (Tunisia).
In this complex and moving portrait of a North African immigrant family in a southern French city, aging protagonist Slimane Bejii is a divorced father down on his luck who seeks to change his fortunes by opening his own restaurant, serving his ex-wife's famous fish couscous. The family rallies around this common cause, despite the financial hurdles they must overcome, and the racial and class discrimination from local officials.
"The Secret of the Grain" is an extraordinary film from Tunisian-born writer/director Abdellatif Kachiche whose cinematic eye successfully enters into the most intimate parts of his characters in a style akin to Italian Neo-Realist films of the 1940s and 1950s. Little wonder the film picked up a César for Best Film and appeared on numerous critics' top ten lists for 2008, including that of A.O. Scott of the New York Times.
A post-film audience discussion will be led by Levantine Cultural Center's artistic director, Jordan Elgrably, whose family emigrated from Morocco to France, and Pani Norindr, Associate Professor of French & Comparative Literature, and Chair of the department of Comparative Literature at USC. Dr. Norindr received his doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University. He is the author of Phantasmatic Indochina: French Colonial Ideology in Architecture, Film, and Literature (Duke University Press). He focuses his research on French, Francophone, and Southeast Asian cinema. He has recently published an essay on Rachid Bouchareb's "Days of Glory" in Yale French Studies.
Tickets available here online, or at the door but subject to availability (space is limited).
"The Secret of the Grain" is the first in Levantine Cultural Center's series this year, "New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema", which takes place the third Thursday of each month. The February selection on Feb. 19, 2010 is Amin Matalqa's "Captain Abu Raed."
Read a review of this highly-lauded film in the Levantine Review.