Sugar & Stars (À la belle étoile) was the highlight of this year’s Alliance Francaise Film Festival, captivating audiences and making us all hungry for some incredible food. Based on a true story Sugar & Stars is a captivating film that tells the inspiring true story of Yazid Ichemrahen, an aspiring pastry chef who overcomes tremendous odds to become the world champion of frozen desserts in 2014. Directed by Sébastien Tulard in his debut feature film, this cinematic gem takes audiences on a heartfelt journey of resilience, determination, and the pursuit of dreams.
The movie is an adaptation of Yazid Ichemrahen’s autobiographical book, “Un rêve d’enfant étoilé,” which chronicles his tumultuous upbringing in the slums and his unwavering dedication to his passion for pastry. Sugar & Stars seamlessly weaves together Yazid’s memories from different stages of his life, shifting between his adult, child, and adolescent selves. While initially jarring, this narrative choice eventually finds its rhythm, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in Yazid’s extraordinary story. Tulard does rip the timelines back and forth without captions or warning so it does take some getting used to, fortunately, he does it really well and it works.
Riadh Belaïch, known for his work as an influencer, takes on the challenging role of Yazid, delivering a commendable performance that showcases his versatility as an actor. Belaïch underwent extensive training as a pâtissier and ice sculptor for the film, adding authenticity to his portrayal of Yazid’s culinary journey. His dedication and commitment shine through, capturing the audience’s empathy and admiration for Yazid’s character. He portrays the rough and resentful Yazid while transitioning to the determined and successful Yazid seamlessly.
Young Marwan Amesker, who portrays Yazid as a child, delivers a powerful and emotionally charged performance. Through his expressive facial expressions, Amesker effectively conveys the hardships and toxic environment that Yazid endures, evoking a deep connection with the audience. Additionally, Ésteban brings a convincing portrayal of Yazid’s nemesis, further enhancing the film’s conflict and emotional tension.
The film’s musical choices, curated by Brice Davoli, provide an interesting contrast between classical music during Yazid’s dessert creations and rap music in the rough areas and group home where he resides as an adolescent. It adds great depth to the storytelling and assists in knowing where the point in time where are in the story. The cinematography by Pierre Dejon uses slow-motion and close-up shots of the delectable dessert creations, enticing viewers and evoking mouthwatering reactions.
Sugar & Stars is ultimately an uplifting and inspiring film that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. It beautifully captures Yazid’s journey from a challenging beginning to a sweet victory, leaving audiences inspired and motivated to pursue their own dreams. However, be prepared for a sudden craving for desserts as the film showcases tantalizing creations that might make you want to indulge. It is advisable not to watch this film on an empty stomach!
In conclusion, Sugar & Stars (À la belle étoile) is a stirring cinematic experience that combines exceptional performances, poignant storytelling, and delectable visuals. It serves as a reminder that with determination and perseverance, one can overcome even the most formidable obstacles on the road to success. Don’t miss the chance to be uplifted by this remarkable tale of resilience and the pursuit of sweet dreams.
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