Un Prophète

This is best film I’ve seen all year and will be released on DVD next Tuesday so I thought I might encourage all to bump it up to the top of your Netflix queue. Jacques Audiard’s film (which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film this past February) is best described as magical neo-realism and tells the story of Malik, a passive, scared, eighteen-year-old who speaks French and Arabic but has been a ward of the state for so long, he really doesn’t know who or what he is. Serving a six-year prison sentence for assault, Malik’s first days are grim, but he is soon made an offer by the Corsican crime syndicate who runs life behind bars . . . let’s just say it’s an offer he can’t refuse (and one which will change the course of his life in ways not even Malik can fully comprehend). As the days and weeks and months and years accumulate, Malik grapples with issues of loyalty, morality, religion and guilt in a coming-of-age drama which is truly epic in scope. Un Prophète instantly evokes comparisons to Coppola’s The Godfather, Scorsese’s Goodfellas, and Meirelles’ City of God. It really is that good.

4 thoughts on “Un Prophète”

  1. I’m still trying to figure out the new site. When I logged in, WordPress told me this was my most recent entry (?), but the accent over the e made the title looked all fucked up, so I fixed it. Then, when I published it, the site seemed to think it was a brand new entry. I just thought I was editing. Oh, well, I’ll figure it out sooner or later. I miss the old feed on the left hand side of the screen where you could track all of the recent posts.

  2. i watched this last night and it really is very good. i don’t have a whole lot to add to jeff’s post except to say that unlike the films jeff compares it to it is not interested in glamour at all–neither in the story nor in the film-making. the dardennes brothers seem like more appropriate touchstones, and as in their films the focus here is not just on the protagonist but less directly also on the world around him–both in prison and outside. france here is one of imprisoned or criminalized minorities–algerians/arabs, corsicans, gypsies, egyptians–and the prognosis doesn’t seem very good.

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