Director: Jacques Audiard Screenplay: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Abdel Raouf Dafri, Nicolas Peufaillit Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif Time: 150min Age Restriction: 16SLV
A Prophet is a creative, but horrifying account of a young man's time in jail that explores many questions of choice, racism and identity.
Tahar Rahim plays Malik, a naive 19-year-old who has been arrested for assaulting a police officer. He has been sentenced to six years in prison, where he gets ordered to kill a fellow inmate. He is warned that it is basically his own life vs. the other guy's life at stake.
This is Malik's first encounter with the Corsican gang who runs the prison and its crooked guards, but he soon becomes embroiled in their dealings, although they treat him like a slave because of his Arab heritage.
Malik is bright enough to soon begin his own ventures, and quickly figures out how to survive. What sets him apart is that he seems to have prophetic dreams and this elevates the film above the rough, violence-ridden prison setting.
I love watching foreign films, because the cinematography and the way of interpreting and portraying a story is extremely creative and original. A Prophet won several awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the coveted Grand Prix, as well as being nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
As a South African, I also found it interesting to see the depiction of racism between the Corsican and Muslim inmates explored in A Prophet. Especially with the recent events in our country, it is sobering to see that this problem exists between many different groups of people and is played out in many different way in different parts of the world.