THIS beautifully directed film is the story of a French-Arab family struggling to forge a better life for themselves in the face of horrendous economic odds.
Beiji is 60, a workman in a shipyard who discovers his 30-odd years’ experience counts for little. His boss thinks he is too slow and is no longer productive enough. But he is not ready to be consigned to the scrapheap. He takes his role at the head of the family seriously, but isn’t helped by the fact he is a divorcee and has conflicting interests to balance.
With the trade he knows apparently no longer having a role for him, and retirement not an option, he needs to find something else to do. He has always wanted to run his own business and believes he could make a success of a couscous restaurant on an old boat he wants to renovate. But he is hampered by the fact he doesn’t have much except a burning determination.
He speaks at length to his family about the plans and one by one they agree to help. And with a lot of guts and elbow grease, the dream gradually becomes a reality.
Gently shot, Couscous is a fairytale of achieving against the odds.
At two-and-a-half hours, it is long but with complex characters and a well-crafted story, it holds the attention.