© 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
   co-workers.

           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
 GRANDE ÈCOLE).

           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.



                                 Rating:                            C
                                 Running time:                90 mins.
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