From Marseille to Mecca: Reconciling the Secular and the Religious in Le grand voyage (The Big Trip) (2004)

  • Author(s): Yahya Laayouni
  • When: 2016-04
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • By the early 1980’s, a generation of children of Maghrebi (North African) parents born and/or raised in France started to become more visible, particularly after they organized a march in 1983 from Marseille to Paris under the slogan “For Equality and against Racism.” This generation was introduced to the public as the “Beur generation.” The word ‘Beur,’ coined by this generation, is the result of a Parisian back slang and means ‘Arab.’ It quickly gained popularity and has been used to refer to children of Maghrebi origins living in France. As much as it has been hard for the Beurs to integrate the French society, they have also been rethinking their Maghrebi cultural heritage. In this paper, I analyse a film entitled Le grand voyage (2004) where a Maghrebi immigrant father ‘forces’ his son to drive him from Marseille to Mecca so that the father performs the Hajj (pilgrimage). I aim at exploring the different elements that separate and reconcile the father and his son along this long journey.

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