Amazon Holiday

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Prophet (un prophète)

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A young Arab man (Tahar Rahim) goes to prison, where he is forced to kill or be killed. Before he knows it, he is rising through the ranks in a gang of Corsican natives who hate Arabs.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi, Reda Kateb, Jean-Philippe Ricci, Jean-Emmanuel Pagni, Leila Bekhti, Slimane Dazi, Rabah Loucif, Frederic Graziani

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketGo! Navigating politics is never easy, but navigating prison politics is so hard, you'd have to be some kind of prophet to do it. This film plays out like a season of Survivor, where if you get caught lying and manipulating, you get your flame snuffed out-- but literally.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: More than you'd expect from a film filled with blood and murder. But for me the funniest bit was a conversation about conjugating the French subjonctif plus-que-parfait, which reminded me of the time I spent in French school asking the teachers why, if nobody used it anymore, I (along with every other French child in the world) was required to learn it? It would be like Americans having to learn old English... or new English, for that matter.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: If you didn't want to go to prison before seeing this, then after seeing this film, you really won't want to go there. You might even get scared right into passing your GED.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: All of them. Here's a condensed list of the ones it's already won: BAFTA, Cesar, National Board of Review USA, European Film Awards, Cannes... And this weekend we'll see if it adds Spirit Award and Oscar to the list. I think it will.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: There were actors in this film? I didn't recognize any of them.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: The movie is way too long, but there is a lot of information to get out, and certainly some moments when you notice how interestingly that information is gotten out.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Intricate, intense, original, and with an Arab protagonist, who is not a good guy, but only doing bad things because he has to. He is also smarter than anyone else in the room, and more honest, so you never stop feeling for him, despite the fact that he's not usually doing anything that commendable.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: As a native French speaker, I wondered if it would be confusing to mono-linguists watching subtitles where the Corsicans often speak their language, and the Arabs often speak their language, and there is no differentiation on screen for those who don't know that they're no longer speaking French-- which is relevant because it means certain people in the room can no longer understand what is being said. And what is being said could potentially at any time be, "Kill that guy."

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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Anonymous said...

Even if the viewer doesn't speak French, isn't it still obvious when someone on-screen is speaking something other than French?

But I see your point.

I've been reading about this film lately -- I can't wait to see it. I think it's one we'll agree on. Again. Finally. (Or at least I hope.) Haha.


Monique Elisabeth said...

That is my point. If you don't speak French, how would you recognize that the actors have switched to Arabic or Corsican-- often times in the middle of a sentence? It all sounds like a foreign language that you don't understand.

I had a hard time deciphering between Arabic and Corsican sometimes because the guys are all pretty brown. So imagine 3 languages you don't know, being spoken indiscriminately.

ProMovieBlogger said...

Great ending to this film. Loved seeing the cars following him as he walked out of prison.