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The story centres on Raouf (Kechiche), a filmmaker from - as the script has it - 'the south' (in this case, Tunisia), who has been asked by a 'northern' (in this case, French) production company to make a film about his childhood love of the movies. In between working on the script, the director - a product of Tunisia's educated, well-travelled, French-speaking elite - argues with his French wife (Basler). Despite having married for love, she but has never accepted, nor been accepted by, her husband's native land, and who has turned to drink as a means of escape. These scenes of present-day cross-cultural angst are spliced in with the long flashbacks to Raouf's childhood in late 1950s Kairouan that provide the film's most rewarding moments.