Le Grand Voyage

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Le Grand Voyage
Directed by Ismaël Ferroukhi
Produced by Humbert Balsan
Written by Ismaël Ferroukhi
Starring Nicolas Cazalé,
Mohamed Majd
Distributed by Pyramide Distribution
Release dates
  • September 7, 2004 (2004-09-07)
Running time
108 minutes
Country France, Morocco, Bulgaria, Turkey
Language Moroccan Arabic

Le Grand Voyage is a 2004 film written and directed by Ismaël Ferroukhi. The film portrays the relationship between father and son as both embark on a religious pilgrimage trip by car. It was shown at the 2004 Toronto and Venice International Film Festivals.


Réda (Nicolas Cazalé) is a French-Moroccan teenager due to sit for Baccalauréat. When his devout father (played by Mohamed Majd) asks Réda to accompany him on a pilgrimage to Mecca, he reluctantly agrees. However, the father insists that they travel by car. As both embark on a road trip thousands of kilometres away from southern France, the once-icy father-and-son relationship starts to thaw as both gradually come to know each other. Réda speaks only in French to his father, who is seen speaking only Arabic for the majority of the film. Later, when necessary, the father proves that he in fact speaks impeccable French; his choice to speak only Arabic to his son is therefore purposeful.[1]

Along the way, the two meet several interesting characters. The son learns about Islam and why his father thought it would be preferable to make the pilgrimage by car rather than by plane.

After all their hardships, they reached Mecca but the father died soon after.

The route taken by the father and son goes from Provence, France through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan before reaching Saudi Arabia.



Most scenes that were set in the Middle East were shot in Morocco. However, some scenes involving the two principal actors were shot in Mecca. While the Saudi Arabian government had previously permitted documentary crews to shoot in Mecca, this was the first fiction feature permitted to shoot during the Hajj. The film's director, Ismaël Ferroukhi, said that while shooting in Mecca, "no one looked at the camera; people didn't even seem to see the crew – they're in another world."[2]


  1. ^ "An Interview with Filmmaker Ismaël Ferroukhi". World Literature Today. 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  2. ^ "The long and winding road". The Guardian. 2005-10-07. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 

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