directed by IsmaŽl Ferroukhi
France/Morocco 2004

 

Reda (Nicolas Cazalť) is a French-Moroccan teenager who, like most teenagers, wants to just hang out with his friends and have a good time. His father (Mohamed Majd) has weightier issues on his mind. He wants to make his hajj to Mecca, and needs Reda to drive him there in a decrepit station wagon old enough to have been driven by Ali and Fatima on their honeymoon. The film follows the time-honored tradition of the road movie as they make their way from France to Mecca and encounter a series of eccentric characters encountered along the way.

The stern traditionalist father disapproves of his son’s ready Western assimilation, while Reda resents the entire trip in large part because it keeps him from hooking up with (non-Muslim) girlfriend, yet another source of contention between father and son. The two bicker and also share the occasional moment of bonding along the way, also placing the film firmly in the tradition of the “bridging the generational gap” film. Just when you think the film has degenerated fully into festival-pleasing formula, suddenly pŤre et fils arrive in Mecca, which proves to be an awakening both for Reda and for director IsmaŽl Ferroukhi. Ferroukhi finds inspiration in the holy city, capturing several beautiful and moving moments as Reda finds himself immersed in a sea of true believers all united for the same purpose. Here the film transforms abruptly from narrative to a near-documentary, with faint echoes of Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool."

Ultimately, it’s still pretty standard festival bait, but the third act achieves a special luminous quality that makes “Le Grande Voyage” well worth seeing, and makes it easier to forgive the film its didactic excesses in neatly-packaged life lessons. It is also beautifully shot by cinematographer Katell Djian (whose first film credit was on Jean-Luc Godard’s “For Ever Mozart” – how in the hell does one get to start a career by shooting a film for Godard?) although the film’s many nature shots take on a generic picture postcard quality by the end.

 

Christopher Long

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Theatrical Release:

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DVD Review: Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Christopher Long for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Mongrel Media

Region 1 - NTSC

This film is also available on DVD from Film Movement and available at Amazon.com:

                

Runtime 103 min
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.53 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mongrel Media

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

None

DVD Release Date: Mar 1, 2007 (Canada)
Keep case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments It’s safe to guess that this isn’t a progressive transfer, because there are numerous examples of combing to be found throughout the DVD (see the final screen capture below for one such example.) The combing is bad enough to be a real problem. Otherwise, the transfer is serviceable with good color saturation and decent, if not razor sharp, image quality.

Optional English subtitles support the audio which is mostly in French but also contains a smattering of Bulgarian, Arabic, Italian, and Turkish. It’s a true cross-continental film.

This DVD is released by Mongrel Media in Canada (as opposed to the DVD released in the USA by Film Movement), and is part of The Festival Collection, which adds two titles per month in Canada and is now up to 50+ titles. WE hope to review many in the upcoming months.

 - Christopher Long

 

 



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Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 
Example of combing

 

 

 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Mongrel Media

Region 1 - NTSC

This film is also available on DVD from Film Movement and available at Amazon.com:

     

     




 

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