Abdellatif Kechiche’s Mektoub, My Love is a 90s summer-romance pastoral of epic length and sexiness, marinaded in sunshine. It spends its time among unfeasibly beautiful young people in microscopically tiny swimming costumes, and moves with them in a trance of heightened physicality, drifting across beaches, bars and dancefloors. The mood is dreamy unseriousness qualified occasionally by temporary stabs of jealousy or misery. The sexiness isn’t promiscuous exactly; more directionless. There is a sustained hedonism here of which you might have assumed heterosexuals were incapable. It floats along and you will wait a long time – three hours in fact – for something to happen in the boringly conventional narrative sense, some sudden event that will dramatically or ironically cut across all this sensuality.
It is adapted from the 2011 novel La Blessure, La Vraie, or The Real Wound, by François Bégaudeau – whose Entre Les Murs was the basis of Laurent Cantet’s Cannes Palme-winning movie The Class from 2008, starring Bégaudeau himself. The year is 1994 and Amin (Shaïn Boumedine) is a young guy who has abandoned his medical studies in Paris and come back to his hometown: the Mediterranean port of Sète, which was the setting of Kechiche’s earlier work Couscous. There’s a sly early nod to that film, in fact. Now Amin has got nothing to do but hang out, all summer long.
Amin - Home - Partly - Time - Career
So why did Amin come home? Partly it’s because he needs time to think about the new career direction he’s fixed on – being a screenwriter, or maybe photographer. But Kechiche makes it clear Amin is still emotionally embedded in the ongoing soap opera of those love lives he left behind and the rich, garrulous warmth of his extended family who run a Tunisian restaurant locally.
Is Amin himself in love? Well, he appears to have strong, unexpressed...
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