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Le Grand Voyage Review

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Reda, a young French muslim, reluctantly embarks on a pilgrimage to Mecca with his ailing Morrocan father.

★★★★★

Anyone seeking an insight into the spiritual potency and cultural purport of Islam will be all the wiser for debutant Ismaël Ferroukhi’s genial generation-gap road movie.

Appalled by the prospect of being dragged away from his cosy French lifestyle to accompany his ailing Moroccan father (Mohamed Majd) on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Nicolas Cazalé slowly comes to appreciate the depth and consolation of his dad’s faith as they endure squabbles, silences and all manner of misadventure. The introduction of a dubious hitchhiking Turk (Jacky Nercessian) seems a touch calculating, while Cazalé’s Saudi experience is a little too obvious. But the discussion of Muslim communalism within a fragmenting Europe and the intensity of their belief in an otherwise secular world is enlightening.

Although slightly predictable, this is also at times touching and often insightful.