Monday, August 16, 2010

An Education

Un Prophète (2009) - Auidard
Without ever being showy, Un Prophète is a pitch perfect prison movie that could easily have been called An Education or Life Lessons. The Prophet reference comes late in this two and a half hour film which you don't feel the length at all- Our hero Malik(Tahar Rahim), a young Arab criminal serving 6 year sentence, has a premonition: "The Animals are Coming!", and surely, they do. He could've just easily blurted out, "Arabs are coming!"

The dangerous chess game Malik plays in and out of the prison is almost too coolly and confidentially realized by Auidard. It floats without one false note. As great as he was in The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Niels Arestrup here plays a menacing Corsican Don, César, treading the screen like a caged lion.

The film alludes to the bigger picture reflecting the French colonial history and the changing face of French society. It's like Caché with recognizable face, much less abstract and much more personable with an unobtrusive supernatural flare. Auidard once again demonstrates that he is gifted with a rare combination of Neil Jordan humanism sans drama and rhythmic elegance of a good classical music.

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