Cinecity Top 10 Poll – 2009 – A Prophet
Title: A PROPHET
With the festival looming, CINECITY has announced it build up campaign, and what kind of movie fan Brightonian would I be if I didn’t get involved. But what is it all about? Read on… CineCity 2012, Brighton Film Festival is approaching, and from 15th November to 2nd December the City will be taken over by films [...]
With the festival looming, CINECITY has announced it build up campaign, and what kind of movie fan Brightonian would I be if I didn’t get involved. But what is it all about? Read on…
CineCity 2012, Brighton Film Festival is approaching, and from 15th November to 2nd December the City will be taken over by films fans attending events in 10 venues including the ever brilliant Duke of York’s Picturehouse. This yearn is a special one as it is the 10th edition. To help with the build up, the boffins behind the festival have asked us fans to come up with our TOP 10 FILMS OF THE LAST 10 YEARS. I have decided to run a series of 10 posts with a feature on my favorite film from the chosen year.
The top films will be compiled and the results will be announced during the festival, but do not panic I will report back here to announce the winners to those of your overseas.
But remember to see your fave, get involved!!
A Prophet (2009)
Malik El Djebena is a 19 year old young offender who is thrown into a French prison on a six year stretch for assaulting a Police Officer. As a non-practicing Arab Malik finds himself shunned by both of the opposing forces within the prison – The Corsicans and The Arabs. Malik is illiterate, young, and covered in bruises received in previous altercations. The film’s opening is shadowy and dark and then thrust Malik into the harsh light of the prison exercise yard. It almost suggests that Malik has been reborn in the prison like a vulnerable child. Things do not look great for Malik and his chances of survival in this violent institution seem very slim. That is however until he is asked by the dominant Corsican gangster to kill for them.
Director Jacques Audiard brings us what is essentially a gangster film, but with a few distinguishing features that make it stand out from the rest. Firstly, Malik rises to power within the prison walls, thanks in part to the extremely corrupt network that is in place. Meaning he is able to get day passes to do his dirty work. Secondly, apart form the first forced act of violence, Malik’s success is due to his self-education and cunning, rather than displays of power and might.
A Prophet is gritty and full of social realism, which separates it from glossy and sensationalist gangster movies. It is a perfect portrayal of a man marginalized by French society and becoming indoctrinated by criminal activities. It seems to perfectly highlight the problems within the prison system and also the prejudices in France in general. There are moments within A Prophet however that border on surrealism and keep this from being too gritty and realist.
A Prophet is a compelling and gripping film. The moments before the first act of violence are extremely tense and even though we all know where this is leading, the actual act is terribly shocking. Tahir Rahim’s turn as Malik and his evolution from virtual child to gangster is unsettling yet in likable.
Much like the tense double Mesrine films, A Prophet proves that the Gallic Gangster movies are a force to be reckoned with. Essential viewing.
Our previous instalments can be found here -
CINECITY BRIGHTON FILM FESTIVAL WILL RUN FROM 15TH NOVEMBER TO 2ND DECEMBER 2012 FOR MORE INFO VISIT THEHOMEPAGE HERE