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It’s Marseilles, in the summer. For months now the Aldébaran has been docked at the end of the sea wall where it can’t hinder port activity. The sailors have no entry permits, rights or money. They’re separated from their families, forgotten by all and sundry, squashed together on board. Abdul Aziz, their Lebanese captain, runs the ship. He’s respected by the crew, a man tough on himself and others. Diamantis, the Greek, is his second in command. He’s a sailor by tradition and by choice. As much as Daimantis is receptive to others, Azis is withdrawn, propped up by his principles. They respect each other, but friends they’re not. Their only link is the sea.
Then comes the day when the crew are laid off. Each man receives a small wage and is left to his own devices. Only Aziz and Diamantis remain on board. Idle, no tricks up their sleeves, they watch each other. Has Diamantis really stayed purely out of sympathy for his captain? And what are all his comings and goings to shore about? Is Aziz actually afraid to return home to Dakar?
Then Nedim, a young Turk from the crew, turns up again. He’s missed the truck that was to take him back to his village, to his promise. He’s in deep trouble. He feels no guilt about anything and is open to all and every adventure, like the affair he’s just had with Lalla. Nedim is a grain of sand of brazen youth, a blank page yet to be written upon, a young man who believes in the simple joy of being alive.
It’s too much for Aziz, too much and way too late. His life is a mistake that he’ll transform into tragedy.
Diamantis is looking for Amina, his first love, his lost love, in the port of Marseilles. But it’s another woman, sweet and luminous Mariette, who’ll intersect his path. It’s all so easy, to love again, that it’s scary to reconcile with oneself. And what about the sea, what about leaving the sea behind, how does this count? A story of three very different men who share nothing in common, be it in the way they are, the way they love.