HOMELAND (AKA NE QUELQUE PART) | DVD REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Let me start by saying this has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TV SHOW!!!! You will not win a season box set of Carrie Mathison chasing Nicholas Brody through war torn towns :). What you will get is a look into another culture and a great film from our friends at Madman Films called HOMELAND. Kernel Andrew will explain it all to you – it is out now on DVD, has been for a while, I discovered all the DVDs when unpacking the office from the big Sydney move. With thanks to our friends at Madman we have 5x copies on DVD up for grabs. Find out how to win down the bottom after you read Andrew’s review. HOMELAND is rated M and runs for 85mins. All the best……JK.

 

HOMELAND AUSTRALIAN DVD COVER IMAGE
HOMELAND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | AUSTRALIAN DVD COVER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

HOMELAND or (NE QUELQUE PART) is in essence a reverse immigrant story. It can be summarised as the story of a French-born son of Algerian immigrants sent to the family’s ancestral village in their homeland of Algeria when the father is taken gravely ill. He is sent to settle his families land holdings which are in danger of being taken away by the government for a public works project. But that misses the point of this heartfelt and very funny movie.

HOMELAND marks the debut feature film of Mohamed Hamidi. There are many topics explored that would be close to the heart of all first generation immigrant families and their children. One topic explored is the desire of young people’s desire to leave a country which is economically in decline and where there appears to be no future for the next generations. Balanced with the sons and daughters of these immigrants born in different lands and their understanding of the nuances, majesty and magic of their parent’s homeland. Sounds pretty heavy doesn’t it? Well it’s not; Hamidi has crafted a comedy out of some serious topics and done it quite admirably. There are a few narrative missteps but on the whole for a debut he gets it very right. He does have two great central roles on which to pivot his movie around. Newcomer Tewfik Jallab as the son sent to Algeria and the always excellent French-Moroccan comedian Jamel Debbouze (who also produced this movie) as his village-idiot cousin.

 

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HOMELAND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | FARID HADJI (TEWFIK JALLAB) AND LE COUSIN (JAMEL DEBBOUZE) PARTY IN A CLUB

 

Farid (Jallab) is a French law student in his mid-20s. Everything seems to be going well for him, he has a great family, beautiful French girlfriend and the future looks very bright for him. His family are still quite traditionally Algerian. Farid though he’s never been to Algeria and isn’t fluent in Arabic. In fact his family make a lot of fun at his expense around this particular issue. But he’s not someone who’s consciously rebelled against his roots, he respects them just doesn’t pay it any mind. Farid is well aware of his parents’ conservative values, as he seems incapable of telling them he’s got this  French girlfriend (Julie De Bona) with whom he’s about to sign for an apartment.

Farid’s father suddenly falls ill and is taken to hospital. He has received a letter from Algeria about the house he built for his family back in his homeland, it is set for demolition. This seems to have brought on the health complications. Something has to be done. But who will go in his stead? As the eldest son, it falls to Farid to travel to a country he has never visited and to settle this dispute with the Algerian authorities.

At the airport we are introduced to Farid’s uncle, Brahim (Miloud Khetib), and Brahim’s loose-cannon son, also called Farid (Debbouze). The two of them as Farid’s (the French one) closest relative have offered to help with the settlement of this particular dispute.

 

HOMELAND MOVIE IMAGE
HOMELAND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | RIDING ON A BIKE

 

There are some truly funny scenes even at this point of the movie. The screenplay written by the Hamidi and Alain-Michel Blanc shifts beautifully between straightforward drama and comedy. Farid and his family in France are painted realistically and with some real depth. When we shift to Algeria, we see Hamidi utilise many of the actors that he obviously met through his travels as a comedy writer. They represent the bevvy of locals who convene at the village café during all hours of the day and night. Whilst they are caricatures they are hilarious ones. Debbouze is the highlight here; he is a very funny man. I encourage everyone to check out his other movies (Amelie, Angel A, and Days of Glory). He really is a master of comedic timing.

The movie really gets going when the Algerian Farid (Debbouze) steals the French Farid’s passport and quietly absconds to France. Leaving his cousin stranded with no way of proving his identity. This is a great twist on the immigrant story. Rather than a refugee (non-citizen) attempting to get into the country, we have a citizen attempting the same thing. There are some serious moments touched upon here, but most of it is played for laughs. Even off screen Debbouze is a constant presence as we here via reports on the village’s only telephone (at the village café) about his exploits in Paris.

 

HOMELAND MOVIE IMAGE
HOMELAND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | RIDING ON A BIKE

 

Stuck in his motherland Farid is frustrated at first and lets his anger out on those around him. But then the beauty of the people and landscape begin to affect him deeply.  He even meets a pretty girl (Zined Obeid), the granddaughter of a local village elder, could a future here be a future with her?

This plot line shows that Hamidi knows how to create tension but also play with audience expectations. Faced with a decision whether to stay or return is perhaps the film’s final lesson and it is not heavy handed in its approach.

There are a few missteps in this movie. I felt the ending was a bit rushed but on the whole I loved this first feature by Hamidi. There are terrific performances by Jallab and Beddouze is the real anchor. Equally important is Armand Amar’s score and the beautifully photography of Alex Lamarque.

Homeland was a last-minute addition to this year’s Cannes line-up and I can see why. It deserves to be there and to be seen by a wider audience.

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

With special thanks to MADMAN FILMS to win one of the 5X DVDs of HOMELAND you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite Middle Eastern film and why?  While I am not a huge watcher of Middle Eastern films or Arabic spoken films I would probably go with PERSEPOLIS or WALTZ WITH BASHIR – both amazing! This link may help you – http://www.imdb.com/search/titlelanguages=ar%7C1&sort=moviemeter,asc&title_type=feature

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent in the next week. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.

 

Apologies – I cannot locate an English subbed trailer – it has to be buried in the 3948435981-98541985 trailers for HOMELAND TV show :).

 

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