Oral Stage as a “Strange Attractor” in Kechiche’s Film The Secret of the Grain

By: Diniz Cayolla Ribeiro

Abstract: Abdellatif Kechiche is an actor, screenwriter, and film director of Tunisian origin with several works produced in France. Recently, a lot has been written about him, not only because, as a director, he won cinema awards, but also because he directed debatable films such as The Secret of the Grain (La graine et le mulet, 2007), Black Venus (Vénus noire, 2010), and especially Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2, 2013). If we view these films in terms of their manifest content, we see that they pose controversial issues related to cultural and/or sexual otherness. However, if we do a closer reading of some of these films from a psychoanalytic perspective, which seeks to find other idioms contained in the visual narratives, we find a consistent pattern of images organized around the mouth. In this paper, I shall try to show this close relationship between images and mouth in the movie The Secret of the Grain, and I will argue that the oral stage, as Freud and other psychoanalysts have shown, can act as a mental organizer, as a “strange attractor” of ideas, on which are founded several artistic discourses and imagery.