The DVD sat there for four years. A huge fan of French and European movies tends to view the movie as soon as the DVD is in their possession. But Mesrine, Amelie, Blue is the warmest colour (la vie d’Adele) came first, although they were brought way after.
Un Prophete is not a movie to watch when you have nothing to do — it calls for planning. The Prophete, Mali, is a French-Arab orphan, who ends up in prison. Not knowing how to read or write, having no friends, hanging alone at breaks in the prison’s yard, he is met with un-planned happenings, new friends, enemies, enemies that transform into friends and friends whom turn into enemies. He has to play the game on his own.
Mali goes from a young, ignorant kid to a transformed individual – He matures. Nowhere during his time in prison is he dealt a massive helping hand; we are used to films that concentrate on one more educated prisoner helping a less educated one. Not here. The Prophete must, even though lent gentle hands by some, scheme his way through a dangerous existence: Prisons have gangs, dirty guards, mafias, killers, rapists… Things do make his stomach turn, at first.
Do not expect a holy man or some kind of angel. The directors and writers are devilish enough to portray the nuances of being human, of existing in such a setting and doing all you can to survive in what can be significantly more dangerous than the wild…
You will learn how one can accelerate from Adamance to reluctance, into acceptance, then demand. The nuances of this individual is placed well in to the ambient of French society today.
Albeit in a prison – gang – setting, Un Prophette presents a real eye-opening account of those existing in the peripheries of what we see in mainstream life – or that that is presented to be as such…
The greyness, dull existence of life in prison, in the cloudy weather of Western Europe, is attended well to; the camera angles that openly accept the doings of this young man is a thing to look out for.