Soil (Grond) is a Belgian award-winning drama-comedy TV series directed by Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah & Mathieu Mortelmans. It was earlier released on Belgian TV in 2021 & recently released on Netflix on March 17, 2022.
The main cast includes Yassine Ouaich, Ward Kerremans, Ahlaam Teghadouini, Saïd Boumazoughe. There are 8 episodes each with a runtime of around 45-50 minutes long.
Netflix describes the series Soil as:
To revamp the family business, a young entrepreneur sets up a bold yet risky plan of importing soil from Morocco to bury his community’s deceased.
– Soil review does not contain any spoilers –
What is Netflix’s Soil all about?
The series Soil starts grimly with a coffin being buried in the ground but the events go in reverse with a monologue by Ismael Boulasmoum, the protagonist of the story. Ismael, better known as Smile, introduces us to his family members & his 12-year-old self, standing by his mother’s burial ground. This scene is important because it’s the inciting incident of Smile’s life story or as he said, the darkest day of his life.
In a few minutes, we get to know that Smile’s family runs a repatriation business for the Muslim Moroccan community living in Belgium. A family running a business dealing with the burial of the dead is certainly a new & intriguing concept. You might ask is this business even profitable? Surprisingly, it is the most secure job for a Moroccan living in Belgium according to Smile’s father & business owner, Omar.
You might still ask how? But as said, if a Muslim person dies in Belgium they leave a major dilemma for their relatives. Where should they bury them? In Belgium or Moroccon soil? That’s where the repatriation business “Assurances Omar” comes into place. They take care of all the details after someone’s death, from preparing the body to flying them to Morocco for burial.
Smile’s sister Nadia & her husband Rachid helps Omar run the business. But Smile has no interest in the family business. He & his friend Jean Baptiste want to get rich without working hard. They are always thinking of ideas that would make them billionaires in one day. Omar wants him to get involved & thus ended up giving 50% of the business to Smile.
On witnessing that even someone’s death can make you some good money, that’s when Smile comes up with the ingenious idea of bringing Moroccon soil here to Belgium instead. It seems like a simple solution for a modern problem, but it might end up with Smile digging his own deep grave.
Is it drama or a comedy?
The answer is, Netflix’s Soil is a drama with dark comedy. Although, as viewers, we are intrigued to know about the business dealing with death. But the business is just a backdrop and the main focus is on the interpersonal relationships between the family members & personal aspirations rooting from it. Smile wants to become rich fast so that his father doesn’t think of him as a disgrace. But that aspiration leads him to many troubles which bury him down.
Rachid has his dreams of taking over the business & making it a franchise in his name. Meanwhile, Nadia is the only female surrounded by the clueless & lost male cast, is often mending after their chaos to keep it all together. She has her concerns over family planning but we don’t delve much into the details of it. Jean Baptiste is definitely the character that brings humour to often serious situations which makes it fun to watch.
Conclusion: Stream it or Skip it?
Netflix series Soil is a fresh concept that deals with the subject of death without making it a sob story. We get to see a brief perspective of the people who are in the business of beyond death. There are nuances of dark comedy but the situations can often be considered comical. Smile’s young mind challenges the traditions & makes him the antagonist in his community but will his plans breakthrough or does everything get soiled? Some things are left open-ended that might hint at the second season but you will have to watch to find that out.
Soil is streaming on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.