›› Le Clan - Three Dancing Slaves ‹‹

a film by Gaël Morel.

2004 | 90 mins | France.

an intense tale of brotherly love.

Dave says:

Like the seasonal titles of its episodic chapters, this intense work has many shades and colours; some light and some decidedly dark. No surprise really, given here we find co-writer and director Gaël Morel of Our Paradise fame, going out of his way to juxtapose a series of beautifully shot scenes of male tenderness, with acts of downright brutality.

For awaiting the release of his brother Christophe (Stéphane Rideau) from prison, tormented soul Marc (Nicolas Cazalé) spends his days alternating between rebelling against his father (Bruno Lochet) and hanging out with his dysfunctional group of friends. Yet in having to take the patriarchal responsibilities of a man desperately trying to come to terms with the death of his wife, Marc's reckless life of drink and drugs is brought into focus upon the arrival of Christophe, only to discover that his once wild sibling is now a reformed character, promptly getting a job at a meat processing factory, determined to go straight, as-it-were. Not that you'd catch the youngest of the three heading in that sexual direction, given Olivier (Thomas Dumerchez) prefers the company of capoeira dancing Arabian hunk Hicham (Salim Kechiouche); namely a man who once was a returning client of the local drug dealer. Only when Marc comes to experience the bloody reality of the business himself, can either of his brothers make him see the error of his ways before acts of revenge threaten to fracture his life and the lives of everyone around him?

Told through Hicham's eyes, here you cannot help but wonder if this is a feature, or three thirty minute shorts linked into a whole? Thankfully Olivier's tale of his relationship with Hicham whilst underdeveloped by comparison to the other two, does make for some much needed light relief from almost endless scenes of violence and angst. Had this work focused more on their deepening friendship, then perhaps it would have come closer to achieving cinematic gold, given Dumerchez's sensitive portrayal of a young man coming to terms with his homosexual self is handled with considerable charm.

Yet his is but one story of three, in a film that whilst simmering with homoeroticism, overt masculinity and full frontal nudity, has seemingly been built on the in-your-face foundations of shock value, resulting in fraternal ties that whilst not incestuous, certainly take brotherly love to an all the more intimate level. That all three leads excel in their vastly differing roles, is to their credit, with Cazalé every inch the rebel of the piece, overflowing with testosterone in a part that contrasts nicely with Rideau's compelling depiction of an ex-con exchanging his criminal ways, for a life of social conformity. Only and in a feature that's all about male bonding, just what is it with these men and shaving?

›› available as part of the PECCADILLO PICTURES catalogue: 14th November, 2005 / UK.
›› revised: Monday, 27th December, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the full monty | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

›› copyright © 2021 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com ‹‹
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