The Secret of the Grain

La graine et le mulet
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

France, Drama, 2007, 154 min., french, arabic and russian with lithuanian subtitles, N-16

“The Secret of the Grain” is a remarkable drama about ordinary people, that won numerous awards and was nominated for the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival (Italy). At the port of Sète, Slimane (Habib Boufares), a tired 60-year-old, drags himself towards a shipyard job that has become more and more difficult to cope as years go by. He is a divorced father who forced himself to stay close to his family: four children from his first marriage, his ex-wife, current girlfriend and her daughter Rym (Hafsia Herzi). The tensions between family members are easily sparked off and the financial difficulties make it even more intense. Slimane is going through a delicate period in his life and recently, everything seems to make him feel useless. He wants to escape from it all and set up his own restaurant. However, it appears to be an unreachable dream given his meagre salary that is not anywhere near enough to supply what he needs to realize his ambition. With his ingeniousness, hard work and family support, this dream soon became a reality... or almost.


2007 – Bronze Muhr Award for the Best Feature at the Dubai International Film Festival (United Arab Emirates).

2007 – FIPRESCI Prize, Marcello Mastroianni Award for Hafsia Herzi, World Catholic Association for Communication SIGNIS Honorable Mention, Special Jury Prize and Young Cinema Award at the Venice Film Festival (Italy).

2007 – Louis Delluc Prize (France).

2008 – César Awards (France) for the Best Director, Best Film, Best Original Screenplay and Most Promising Actress Hafsia Herzi.

2008 – FIPRESCI Prize at the European Film Awards (Copenhagen, Denmark).

2008 – Lumière Awards (France) for the Best Director and Most Promising New Actress Hafsia Herzi.

2008 – Étoile d'Or Awards (France) for the Best Director, Best Film, Best Writer and Best Female Newcomer Hafsia Herzi.

2008 – French Syndicate of Cinema Critics‘Méliès Award (France) for the Best Film. 

About the director:
Film director, screenwriter and actor Abdellatif Kechiche was born in Tunis, Tunisia, in 1960. At the age of six he moved to Nice (France). A. Kechiche studied drama at the Antibes Conservatoire of Music and Drama (France). He made his directorial debut in 2000 with an award-winning “Poetical Refugee” (La Faute à Voltaire), which he also wrote. He also directed “Games of Love and Chance” (L'Esquive, 2003), which won a César Award for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director, “The Secret of the Grain” (La graine et le mulet, 2007) for which he was awarded César Awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director and the Special Jury Prize, the FIPRESCI Prize and was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival (Italy). His film “Black Venus” (Vénus noire, 2010) was also nominated for the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival. “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (La vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2) – A. Kechiche‘s latest film was awarded the prestigious Palme D‘Or at the Cannes Film Festival (France).
Section: Abdellatif Kechiche film retrospective

Screenplay: Abdellatif Kechiche

Dir. of Photography: Lubomir Bakchev

Cast: Habib Boufares, Hafsia Herzi, Faridah Benkhetache, Abdelhamid Aktouche, Alice Houri, Bouraouïa Marzouk