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The Secret of the Grain (La Graine et le mulet)

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Videos & Photos

  • Criterion Collection trailer

Movie Info & Cast


In southern France, a Franco-Arabic shipyard worker along with his partner's daughter pursues his dream of opening a restaurant.


  • Habib Boufares
  • Hafsia Herzi
  • Farida Benkhetache
  • Abdelhamid Aktouche
  • Alice Houri
  • Bouraouïa Marzouk
  • Cyril Favre
  • Leila D'Issernio
  • Abelkader Djeloulli
  • Bruno Lochet

Did You Know?


  • Shooting was supposed to start in the summer of 2005 but one of the leading actors was sick, which resulted in a major delay. Thus, filming actually started on 5 September 2005 and was still running by 16 January 2006. The set was on a boat in the port of Sète for at least six weeks from October to December 2006. Outside temperatures were very low, as opposed to what they should have been if schedule could have been held. This led the production to set up large tents near the boat with heating systems for the actors and extras to remain comfortable between takes.


    • [talking to Slimane about her husband]
    • Julia: Is that a family man ?
    • Serguei: Never there for his kid.
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A penchant for suffocating close-ups and an overabundance of scenes that go on far too long mar Abdellatif Kechiche's The Secret of the Grain, an otherwise engaging drama about an immigrant Arab family in France.

Metacritic review by Ray Bennett
Ray Bennett
The Hollywood Reporter

Takes one man, his children, their spouses and babies, his ex-wife, his girlfriend, her daughter, and his friends and turns it all into a masterpiece about the strange power of food - to heal, unite, exasperate.

Metacritic review by Wesley Morris
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe

The Secret of the Grain never slows, always engages, may continue too long, but ends too soon. It is made of life itself.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times