Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Prophet

Nov 12: A Prophet 2009, France, Jacques Audiard director.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes and mulitple Césars, Audiard's prison film is harsh, graphic, but ultimately redemptive. Malik, an illiterate Franco-Arab, and only 18 years old, is imprisoned for 6 years. Unprotected and alone, Malik must negotiate a life in prison, caught between the hostile Corsican and Muslim cons. Malik learns to read and write but, forced into a Mafia organization to survive, he becomes involved in the drug world, exploited by César, the Corsican prison mobster. A provactive, documentarist film, A Prophet has generated much attention to prison life. Violence!! 

Here's the best thing about the movie: Jimmie Dale Gilmour's Mac the Knife playing over the closing scene. I never could figure why this guy didn't become a bigger deal.

There's something wrong with this thing.  French sophistication and arrogance in the way of the thing touching down. TV's Sopranos has more to say about power and its structures in anarchic ethnic environments. A brutal system moulds a brute. Heard this story before I think. Oooh, but he cuddles a baby so he can't be all bad (and he just kills bad guys after all) so we're asked to have some sympathy for another psycho.  Prison in the South of France inhabited by Muslims on one side, Corsicans on the other. No explanation why there's no not-ethnic French prisoners. Marseilles is nearby. This prison would have a few French gangsters in it, no?