Presenting the audience with four generations of an immigrant household, this intimate exploration of family values reflects both France's troubled colonial past and its vibrant multicultural present against a backdrop of tantalising scenes of cooking and eating that fill the air with a palpable aroma of kindness and solidarity. A culturally diverse casserole of converging ethnicities, Kechiche unites Arabic and even Russian values to create an inimitable depiction of contemporary French society. At Couscous' numerous gatherings we're presented with a vibrant mix of characters, with the audience left to decipher how each of these characters are related, before quickly realising that it's near-impossible to delineate relationships as cultural and ecumenical barriers are meaningless in this intimate family unit.
Kechiche isn't naïve enough to merely depict life as virtuously as this, as a subsequent scene between Slimane and his bank manager demonstrates. Slimane's applying for a business loan, and his strategy is agreed as a decent and potentially profitable one, yet sadly the help of friends and family is deemed insufficient collateral in today's neoliberal society. A fascinating study of national and cultural identity, Kechiche's Couscous takes the often marginalised voice of France's adopted children and teaches us the true meaning of family and community in a world pushing harder and harder towards individualism.