Untraditional French Film Captivates Viewers

Photo Credit / ONE Media "Mektoub My Love" is a three hour film that follows an unconventional plot line and is only the first part of a series of films.

Lou Surrans

Staff Writer

February is a cold month and summer is in everyone’s mind. That is why I entreat you to watch the latest Abdellatif Kechiche’s movie “Mektoub My Love: Canto One.”

This French movie follows the adventure of several 20-year-old people in holidays in Sète, South of France.

They are spending their day at the beach playing games in the ocean and lying on the sand. They also are going out and dancing all night long. Sounds like a good time, right?

So, take a seat and spend almost three hours chilling with this group composed of French and Tunisian people. The time literally flies and you won’t believe that the movie is done by the end of it.

One major strength of the film is its banality. It is a movie about nothing special. A movie about friends and relationships, nothing more. In the end, I would even say it is a movie about life.

These people could be you and me, or anyone at all. They are average. Their relationships look like the ones you have or your relatives and friends have.

They talk like everyday people. Don’t expect any long and poetic dialogues within the film. In an interview for a French media, Le Quotidien, the actors explain that during the shooting they had to improvise since they didn’t have any lines. To my mind, that is why it is so good. Because it’s so realistic!

However, because of its banality, one can argue that the scenes are too long and nothing much happens. That is true. This movie is slow and has nothing to do with an action movie where something happens every minute.

Another strength of the movie is the main character — Amin. Shaïn Boumedine’s interpretation is really moving. This rising French star plays a shy and discreet apprentice screenwriter. You will definitely be touched by his sensibility.

Desire is a constant element throughout the movie. Men and women are staring at each other. They are smiling, flirting and fighting. They are kissing and even breaking up.

The eye of the camera is indiscreet as well. It zooms in on a woman’s body occasionally. Some people would argue that the movie is focusing too much on women’s shapes. However, the director’s point was to illustrate the human’s desire and put women on a pedestal.

Kechiche’s works are well-known in France. You might hear about “Blue is the Warmest Color,” which is about a young woman falling in love with a blue-haired woman.

Here, Kechiche opens “Mektoub My Love” with an explicit sex scene. However, do not trust first impressions! The movie is much more than just these first minutes.

Last but not least, do not forget to watch this movie in its original version. It is much better!

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