A Prophet (image 1)

Audiard's sleek, chic and unstoppable prison film turns the gangster genre inside out.

Nick Bradshaw, Sight & Sound

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

A Prophet 2009

Un prophète

Directed by Jacques Audiard

Jacques Audiard’s dense, involving, Oscar-nominated crimeworld drama is one of the year’s standout films. “Lean, dangerous, urgent… Instantly takes its place among the greats of the prison and crime genres.” — The Times

France / Italy In Arabic and French with English subtitles
155 minutes

Director

Screenplay

Thomas Bidegain
,
Jacques Audiard. Based on an original idea by Abdel Raouf Dafri

Photography

Stéphane Fontaine

Editor

Juliette Welfling

Production designer

Michel Barthélemy

Costume designer

Virginie Montel

Sound

Brigitte Taillandier
,
Francis Wargnier
,
Jean-Paul Hurier
,
Marc Doisne

Music

Alexandre Desplat

With

Tahar Rahim (Malik El Djebena)
,
Niels Arestrup (César Luciani)
,
Adel Bencherif (Ryad)
,
Reda Kateb (Jordi the gypsy)
,
Hichem Yacoubi (Reyeb)
,
Jean-Philippe Ricci (Vettorri)
,
Gilles Cohen (Prof)
,
Antoine Basler (Pilicci)
,
Leïla Bekhti (Djamila)
,
Pierre Leccia (Sampierro)
,
Foued Nassah (Antaro)
,
Jean-Emmanuel Pagni (Santi)
,
Frédéric Graziani (prison manager)
,
Slimane Dazi (Lattrache)

Festivals

Cannes (In Competition), Toronto, Vancouver, London 2009; Sundance, Rotterdam 2010

Awards

Grand Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2009; Best Film, London Film Festival 2009; Nominated, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards 2010

Elsewhere

Jacques Audiard's dense, involving, richly layered crimeworld drama is one of the year's standout films. Set largely in a prison, but with ramifications that reach far beyond, it features a performance of compelling depth from newcomer Tahar Rahim as Malik. — BG 

“Everything about A Prophet starts out small, including Malik. When he arrives, he has a ratty handsomeness (think De Niro in Mean Streets). He moves awkwardly, he's illiterate, and aside from the scars on his back, he's a blank. The glory of the film lies in seeing him take shape, physically and psychologically, over the course of his sentence... Audiard and his co-writer Thomas Bidegain take their time with the transformation, but A Prophet needs every one of its 155 minutes... As he matures, the scope of the film grows organically around him. What starts as the profile of one convict expands into an indictment of the penal system as a crucible of criminal ambition... Audiard also investigates the shifting ethnic composition of organised crime... That Audiard liberates this locked-down genre with the suggestion of something equivocal and even spiritual raises his mighty film into a different class.” — Ryan Gilbey, New Statesman

“It's lean, dangerous, urgent... This is staggeringly impressive filmmaking, a picture which instantly takes its place among the greats of the prison and crime genres.” — Wendy Ide, The Times

“Like Audiard's similarly rich thriller, The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet is elegantly structured, arresting in its detailing of a little-known subculture, filled with fascinating characters, and gripping beginning to end.” — Amy Taubin, Film Comment