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A Prophet (2009)

Un prophète (original title)
R | | Crime, Drama | 26 March 2010 (USA)
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A young Arab man is sent to a French prison.

Director:

Jacques Audiard

Writers:

Thomas Bidegain (screenplay), Jacques Audiard (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,880 ( 421)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 50 wins & 52 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tahar Rahim ... Malik El Djebena
Niels Arestrup ... César Luciani
Adel Bencherif ... Ryad
Reda Kateb ... Jordi
Hichem Yacoubi Hichem Yacoubi ... Reyeb
Jean-Philippe Ricci Jean-Philippe Ricci ... Vettori
Gilles Cohen Gilles Cohen ... Prof
Pierre Leccia Pierre Leccia ... Sampierro
Antoine Basler Antoine Basler ... Pilicci
Foued Nassah Foued Nassah ... Antaro
Jean-Emmanuel Pagni Jean-Emmanuel Pagni ... Santi
Frédéric Graziani Frédéric Graziani ... Chef de détention
Leïla Bekhti ... Djamila
Rabah Loucif Rabah Loucif ... L'avocat de Malik
Slimane Dazi ... Lattrache
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Storyline

Nineteen year-old Franco-Arab Malik El Djebena is just starting his six year prison sentence in Brécourt. Although he has spent the better part of his life in juvenile detention, this stint is his first in an adult prison. Beyond the division of Corsicans and Muslims in the prison (the Corsicans who with their guard connections rule what happens in the prison), he has no known friends or enemies inside. He is just hoping to serve his time in peace and without incident, despite having no prospects once he's out of jail since he's illiterate and has no support outside of the prison. Due to logistics, the head of Corsican inmates, a sadistic mafioso named César Luciani, co-opts Malik as part of the Corsicans' activities, not only regarding what happens inside the prison, but also continued criminal activities outside. The innocent Malik has no idea what to do but cooperate. This move does not sit well with the other Corsicans, who only see Malik as a dirty Arab, and the Muslims who now ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Escaping the prison of life.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, sexual content, nudity, language and drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | Arabic | Corsican

Release Date:

26 March 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Prophet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$163,773, 28 February 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,084,637, 27 June 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To ensure the authenticity of the prison experience, Jacques Audiard hired former convicts as advisers and extras. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prisoner: Take these handcuffs off!
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2009 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridging the Gap
Written by Nas (as Nasir Jones)
Performed by Nas featuring Olu Dara
Courtesy of Ill Will, Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Watch the Renaissance of French Cinema - a Must-See
12 January 2010 | by Radu_ASee all my reviews

One of the biggest surprises of 2009, Jacques Audiard's 'Un Prophète' is the best French film in a decade, garnering strong critical and word-of-mouth support and winning the Grand Prix in Cannes (which for years now means that it's the actual festival winner). The surprise is that the story is far from being original: a young Arab sentenced to (adult) prison for the first time is forced by a Corsican mafia boss running the strings there to do his bidding. By and by, he manages to use his underling position to his own advantage. So it's a typical hard-boiled underdog story - what makes it so great then?

'Un Prophète' doesn't differ much in style from the French films of late, which were often so hell-bent on displaying life as a gritty and boring affair, and resorted to radical violence to underscore this point, that spectators were almost forced to feel disgusted, which was then claimed to be a denominator of the film's artistic success. This phenomenon has been called 'New French Extremity'. What Jacques Audiard has done is to combine the aesthetics of this trend with the traditions which once made the French film industry the most power- and meaningful in Europe, namely to focus on the relationship of the leading actors. The result is a film that is totally engaging from the first minute, because it entrusts the actors with the task of transforming the script into something of their own making.

And boy oh boy, Tahar Rahim does that job. A newcomer with a little bit of TV experience, his performance carries 'Un Prophète' with amazing vigor. It's a big chance, and he takes it. Would this be an English-language film, he'd be a surefire contender for the awards. His nemesis is portrayed by Niels Arestrup in an equally flawless, yet much more routinized way, which juxtaposes the two characters perfectly. Add to this the sophisticated editing already present in Audiard's last film 'De battre mon coeur s'est arreté' (2005), and you have the best European film of 2009, in spite of a story that you will most likely have seen dozens of times already.

If you usually don't like European movies, or if you have only time to see one a year, watch this one - you won't regret it.


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