›› Le Clan - Three Dancing Slaves ‹‹

a film by Gaël Morel.

2004 | 90 mins | France.

an intense tale of brotherly love.

Dave says:

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?

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 director and co-writer Gaël Morel going out of his way to juxtapose a series of beautifully shot scenes of male tenderness, with acts of downright brutality. Yet at its core, this is a film about male bonding, resulting in fraternal ties that whilst not incestuous, certainly take brotherly love to an all the more intimate level. To that end, all three leads excel in their roles, with Cazalé notably 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.

That the story is told through Hicham's eyes, is a nice touch, even if 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, does make for some much needed light relief from 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. Only 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. Indeed, just what is it with these men and shaving?

›› check out the Official Trailer on YouTube.
›› revised: Thursday, 3rd December, 2020.

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

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