Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Sentenced to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim) is alone in the world and can neither read nor write. On his arrival at the prison, he seems younger and more brittle than the others detained there. At once he falls under the sway of a group of Corsicans who enforce their rule in the prison. As the 'missions' go by, he toughens himself and wins the confidence of the Corsican group.
Since this breakout performance four years ago Tahar Rahmin has steadily continued to develop a reputation as one of the most exciting actors in Europe. His fresh-faced energy slots in perfectly with the gritty dramas he undertakes and as Malik El Djebena that youthful eagerness is on full display.
There is nothing particularly new about the story of a naive young man entering prison or the first time, only to evolve into a much smarter version by the time he is realised. What director Jacques Audiard thankfully avoids is a glorification of that process. Malik's arc through his prison sentence is carefully escalated through the years, not quickly draping him in the kings clothes ready to rule a new empire.…
I'd heard so many recommendations for Un prophète from people with good taste, on Letterboxd and before I joined, that at some point I forgot that it's a two and a half hour prison movie. An extra-large helping of a genre I usually avoid. Fuck.
Not long after Malik's arrival in gaol though, it stops being an account of claustrophobic, intrusive routine whilst isolated amongst thugs - and becomes a mesmerising character drama about the men stuck in this big concrete box for years, with the intense focus of Audiard's earlier films honed to master craftsmanship. And the violence was not nearly so graphic as that for which I'd been steeling myself.
Un prophète is a formidable film in every…
Gritty french prison coming of age story where a petty criminal rises in ranks in the Corsican mob! Strong character driven story riddled with the harsh realities of prison life and its 1st cousin brutal graphic violence!
Are prisons a center for rehabilitation or a gangster boot camp!
The idea is to leave here a little smarter.
I missed Jacques Audiard's 2010 Oscar Nominated Best Foreign Language Film three years ago and I regret it now. I knew it was obviously good by the multitude of high ratings it was getting from Letterboxd users, but I had no idea how much I would love the film. Of course I've always been a sucker for crime dramas, but I wasn't expecting such a fresh and original story in such an unfamiliar setting.
The "how prison changes a man" story has been done numerous times before, but I don't recall ever seeing one like this. The manner in which Malik El Djebena's (Tahar Rahim) character is transformed throughout the…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A prophet is a staggering work of brilliance that only gets better and better every time I see it. At first I thought it was just another depressing or difficult-to-watch film about life in prison, but it's so much more than that. It's about a guy with nothing to lose… who comes of age… explores the limits of his humanity… and rises to power. Yeah, that bizarre description only captures about 90% of what this film is about.
The story begins without telling us anything about this Algerian/French kid named Malik El Djebena"s background or who he is as a person. You do feel pangs of sadness for him because of how the other prisoners treat him and you get…
Epic and bleak prison saga with touches of the fantastic, refreshingly free of the overt glorification of sociopathy and violence that are de rigueur in Hollywood versions of this genre. Not without disturbingly violent scenes, but driven by character development , Tahar Rahim's performance expertly portraying Malik El Djebena's transformation from illiterate petty criminal.
Sprawling gritty prison drama following a French - Algerian teen sent to prison attempting to find a way to survive within the walls. What happens is a well realised and observed rise to power through twisting allegiances and survival instincts. The film is just wonderfully structured and tense throughout. What makes the rise so compelling is complex and regretful it feels, yet how inevitable. This isn't a Scarface Push it to the Limit type of rise, it's one that feels inevitable yet emotionally complex and played out step by step instead of grand scheme. It adds a level of unpredictability and makes the characters more rich in their transitions.
Another excellent addition to the prison genre. Tahar Rahim makes an impressive debut in this film as Malik, a young delinquent who finds himself in prison after an impulsive attack on police officers and chronicles his rise from being literally the bottom of the prison food chain to finally being on top. I think what is most impressive about this film is how grounded this movie is. Malik's rise is not glamorized, but rather we can see it's borne out of necessity and survival. And though we cheer and root for his success, we also get to see how brutality and violence inflicted upon and by him take its toll.
Another strong point for this film is Niles Arestrup as…
Not sure why the French make such great prison movies, but they do.
I know if I ever go to jail, I'll probably last all of three minutes....
tight and compelling thriller about a young arab man making his way up between the gang factions between muslims and corsican gangsters in prison. Long but fascinating. A little confusing toward the end, i might need a second viewing to understand all the politics
First published by EyeforFilm
"You can't read, right? It's not too late. There's a prison school. You can learn in here. My idea is to leave here a little smarter."
The man who dispenses this advice, Reyeb (Hichem Yacoubi), will, in minutes, be dead but nonetheless his killer, 19-year-old Malik el Djebena (Tahar Rahim), heeds his words, and embarks on a long path of self-improvement. After all, he has arrived in prison with nothing – no family, no literacy, no faith. Even the 50 euro note that he had tried to smuggle in with him was immediately spotted and confiscated by the guards – and his trainers were stolen from him the moment he stepped into the prison yard.
In contrast to his 2012 film Rust and Bone, which I found to be insufferable, Jacques Audiard's Jury Prize-winning A Prophet is a far better film. Although I'm not completely sold on Audiard yet - this films certainly has its flaws and some of the aesthetic choices made were quite childish in comparison to the brutality of the piece's opening - A Prophet is still leaps and bounds better than its follow-up, using its prison narrative to address issues of personal autonomy, racism, and to a degree, fascism. Audiard makes some pretty bold choices in this work and some, such as the uses of only fractions of the frame during character POV shots, work exceptionally well. As a whole, the film is quite good, but never exceptional.
A Prophet is a terrific take on the prison film genre, focusing on one characters journey from a young, naive that has events beyond his control shape and make him into the calculated, adult criminal that we witness by the films end. The setting of the prison and the violence that takes place isn’t glossed or polished over. It’s messy, brutal and clumsy, all with of which can be told in the scene where Malik has to take another prisoners life in order to guarantee his own safety. From here on we see the transformation of Malik as at first he’s made an outsider by the Corsican and by this he simply observes, looks for angles and eventually in time…
This sprawling European crime drama should suffer from what should be flaws. Sometimes it feels like it's not going anywhere. Sometimes it feels like nothing new. Sometimes it's interrupted by jarringly arty flights of fancy. But director Jacques Audiard somehow smoothes these issues into a steady flow, shaping this unwieldy epic into an absorbing and ultimately satisfying movie.
Catch Up If I Cannes 2 - Film 10:
Some of the hybrid identity stuff is cool, but the Cinema-Scope review is kinda right about how its attempt to comment on Arab identity are a little specious - its lead is too much of a blank slate and the commentary too removed from actual Arab-written theory for it to really have theoretical heft. I'm increasingly becoming bored of this kind of token serious aesthetic (though some of the surreal stuff was a nice reprieve), and the movie is super long for an arc this inevitable (and all the times when the "prophet" thing becomes literal feel like a waste). But all in all, I enjoyed this. Though the character…
[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…