Beach Café

Beach Café (2001)
Picture This Home Video
Cast: Ouassini Embarek, Jacques Nolot, Leila Belarbi
Extras: Previews

’Café de la Plage’ or ’Beach Café’ is the story of an enterprising, yet naive young man named Driss (Ouassini Embarek) who is dating a young European antiques dealer, named Betsoul (Leila Belarbi). Driss becomes intrigued with a perplexing man by the name of Fouad (Jacques Nolot), who owns a ramshackle café on the beach. Fouad, who despises his fellow Moroccans and considers them cheap drunks, while catering to wealthy Americans and Europeans alike, doesn’t really care for the company of Driss, but would rather lie to him then be honest about his feelings towards him. One day Driss proposes that both he and Fouad become partners and expand the beach café business to include a campground and restaurant, which interests Fouad, so he goes ahead with the plan without Driss being involved and actually befriends Driss in the process. Driss continues to consider Fouad a friend and still frequents the café despite Fouad’s tactics. There are examples where director Benoit Graffin introduces other parts of the story, like Fouad’s checkered past, but doesn’t delve too deep and instead focuses on keeping ’Beach Café’ a rather plain and simple story.

Presented in an anamorphic transfer from Picture This Home Video, ’Beach Café’ exhibits good color saturation and nice detail, which is evident in scenes involving sand, ocean and surrounding greenery, the balance is quite good. Blacks are average, if a little too light at times, displaying more of a dark-gray than a true deep appearance. There is some edge enhancement visible, but overall is not too distracting.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which comes in a French and Arabic mix, with English subtitles, is balanced quite nicely. Dialogue sounds clear and natural and I enjoyed the soft guitar melodies that make up part of the film’s score.

Extras are limited to previews of other films available from Picture This! Home Video.

Although ’Beach Café’ has fantastic scenery of the Moroccan coastline and is delightfully photographed by cinematographer Yorick Le Saux, it is not enough to keep you interested as the story is rather simple and at times a little weak. I think ’Beach Café’ will be hard pressed to find a wide audience, but might please the film buff looking for something with a different look and feel.