|© 2005 by C. E. Murphy. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
|Three Dancing Slaves (Le Clan)
Actor turned director Gaël Morel teamed with screenwriter
Christophe Honoré on THREE DANCING SLAVES (a.k.a. LE CLAN),
a drama about how a trio of French-Algerian brothers grieve over the
death of their mother and cope with their alcoholic and abusive father.
The filmmakers have set out to prove the dictum that each of us is
the star of the movie of our life, although in this case, the films are shorts
not features. Using a tripartite structure, Morel and Honoré focus
attention on each of the brothers. Middle sibling Marc (Nicholas Cazalé)
is a skinhead bodybuilder. When he’s not hanging around with a pack of
unemployed and horny friends, he runs afoul of local drug dealers who
exact a payment from him to which PETA would surely object.
Eldest brother Christophe (Stéphane Rideau) is an ex-con
attempting to go straight. Even though Marc wants his assistance in
extracting revenge on those drug dealers, Christophe decides
to concentrate on his job at a poultry factory. His hard work catches
the attention of the manager, but also alienates him from some of his
The youngest is Olivier (Thomas Dumerchez) who appears to be
the most sensitive of the trio. He talks to his dead mother’s ashes (until
Marc takes them and deposits them in the local river, claiming it was
mom’s wish). Eventually, he drifts into a sexual liaison with Marc’s pal
Hicham (Salim Kechiouche, playing a variation on his role in the superior
Besides their bloodlines and seemingly homoerotic desires, the
siblings all share an interest in the Brazilian martial arts discipline
capoeira, which features balletic moves that have lent the film its
somewhat misleading American title.
The actors do wonders with their underdeveloped roles, with Cazalé
in particular the standout. As a director, Morel still needs to work on his
technique; at the moment, he seems more willing to borrow ideas from
François Ozon and André Téchiné without having developed his own
style or voice.
Running time: 90 mins.