Review #Venezia74: Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, who is known for Blue Is The Warmest Colour, Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno is a three-hour long film on youth. 

mektoub

Amin dropped out of his medical studies to work on his screenplay and to start taking photos again. He returns to his hometown near the sea and to his friends, especially Ophelia, a beautiful girl who is going to get married with Clement but has sex with Amin’s cousin, Tony. Without thinking about work or University, Amin goes to the beach, meets Celine and Charlotte, goes dancing, takes pictures and follows Ophelia everywhere, fascinated by her sensuality and beauty.

Abdellatif follows Amin with the camera, following his moves and his face. Amin is the main character and the director follows every moment of his life, moving from one face to another, from one girl’s body to another, inspecting them closely, as if we were watching everyone with Amin’s eyes. The filming is fast and nervous, but at the same time calm and patient when Amin is carefully looking at someone or something. Abdellatif takes time to the extreme length of three hours, during which we see sex scenes, sensual dancing in the disco and even the birth of two lambs. The film isn’t based on a real story, the scenes just follow one another as time goes by day by day in Amin’s life. We almost start knowing each person, as if we are right there at the beach or at the restaurant. Amin and Ophelia exchange looks very often during gestures that are simple and habitual.

Mektoub is an ode to youth, to love, to life. Some people say that if you hate this film, you hate cinema. In my opinion if you hate this film, you hate life, love and an incredible cinematography that gives you goosebumps. Abdellatif doesn’t take inside people’s head or heart, he shows the beauty of life through youth and through birth. That same scene of the two lambs’ birth requires a lot of patience for Amin, who wants to photograph that moment, and for the spectator who has to sit, watch, and nothing else. Even though the film goes on fluently and it’s a pleasure to sit there and look at all those beautiful shots, I still think that one hour less would have been better.

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