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A Prophet (2009)

Un prophète (original title)
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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 »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 48 wins & 50 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

Though Niels Arestrup, who plays the terrifying Corsican crime lord who runs the prison, was in Jacques Audiard's previous film, the director met Tahar Rahim, who plays Malik, when they shared an automobile ride from another film set. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

References You Only Live Twice (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Mack the Knife
Music by Kurt Weill
Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht
Performed by Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent tough & rough prison gangster film
26 September 2009 | by incitatus-orgSee all my reviews

Un Prophète :: Jacques Audiard :: France :: 2008 : 2h35

A young man is being admitted into prison. The scars on his body and face betray a violent past. He can barely read and write. He has no friends. Malik (Tahar Rahim) is 19 years old. Out on the concrete courtyard, he is recruited by the ruthless Corsican mafioso César (Niels Arestrup) to kill a rival passing through their prison. Malik is beaten into submission. His life could have ended right there and then. But that is not how it was to be. Malif comes out the corner fighting.

Most of the film is concrete slabs and dirt. There is the constant murmur of the rumours passed around in Arabic and Corsican if it is not in banlieue slang French. And then there is the violence. Nobody gets punished because nobody interferes. Even when inmates get killed there is no indication that they are being investigated. The detainees are all on their own. We do see the state's legal machinery operating in the background with lawyers and judges shifting paper. We see the inmates work in the prison factory sowing clothes. We see the willing bullies being schooled. But the penitentiary staff shine mostly in their absence. Malik knows it is going to be a long 6 years.

He takes what he can get, and tries to make the best of himself. He could have made an excellent career for himself in the army, if life had been different. He has the adaptability, the patience, the dedication, the intelligence and the lack of moral restraint to make it far, in the right framework. If only he had been in an organisation which could contain and direct him, rather than unleash him, as prison did. We see him slowly becoming a man to be reckoned with, creating his own new order. Make no mistake, this young man is taking you along to the bitter end.

Un Prophète is a tough film to watch, but immaculately constructed. I can not claim to have captured the full finesse of the all the criminal dealings, but it does not matter. The audience is thrown into the story as the young Malik is. Thrown in, to live it with him. And live it, you will. It is a masterfully made film with a clever script, an excellent cast and a surprising attention to detail. A rare pearl in the genre, bound to be as rewarded as director Audiard's previous De Battre mon coeur s'est arrêté, which won no less than 8 Césars! (incitatus.org)


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