a film by Gaël Morel
2004 | 90 mins | France
›› Le Clan - aka Three Dancing Slaves
an intense tale of brotherly love
Le Clan by Gaël Morel Like the seasonal titles of its episodic chapters, this intense work has many shades and colours; some light and some decidedly dark.

For awaiting the release of his brother Christophe from prison, tormented soul Marc spends his days alternating between rebelling against his father and hanging out with his friends. Yet Marc's reckless life of drink and drugs is soon to be brought into focus upon the arrival of Christophe, who much to his consternation 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 sibling heading in that sexual direction, given Olivier prefers the company of capoeira dancing Arabian hunk Hicham and a man who once sought the product of the local drugs 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 those around him?

Le Clan by Gaël Morel In a work of opposites, director and co-writer Gaël Morel delights in contrasting 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, the three leads give the film their all, in particular Nicolas Cazalé who as Marc is every inch the rebel of the piece, overflowing with testosterone in a part that contrasts nicely with Stéphane Rideau's compelling depiction of ex-con Christophe, seen 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 film, 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 a welcome relief from prior 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 Thomas 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 feature that whilst simmering with homoeroticism, overt masculinity and full frontal nudity, has clearly been built on shock value foundations. For just what is it with these men and shaving?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue 30.January.2012 / UK.
starring: Nicolas Cazalé / Marc, Stéphane Rideau / Christophe, Thomas Dumerchez / Olivier,
Salim Kechiouche / Hicham, Bruno Lochet / the Father, Vincent Martinez / the Professor,
Jackie Berroyer / Robert, Aure Atika / Emilie and Nicolas Paz as Montana.
Revised and Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #169
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