Retrospective of Greatness

A Prophet

France, Italy | 2009

Jacques Audiard

09

Director:
Jacques Audiard

Screenplay:
Thomas Bidegain,
Jacques Audiard

Director of photography:
Stéphane Fontaine

Film Editing:
Juliette Welfling

Producer:
Lauranne Bourrachot,
Martine Cassinelli,
Pascal Caucheteux,
Marco Cherqui

Production Company:
Why Not Productions
Chic Films,
Page 114,
France 2 Cinéma,
UGC,
Celluloid Dreams

Cast:
Tahar Rahim,
Niels Arestrup,
Adel Bencherif

Duration:
155′

Synopsis

Malik El Djebena, who cannot read nor write, is condemned to six years in prison. Arriving to jail entirely alone, he appears younger and more fragile than the other convicts. He is 19 years old. Cornered by the leader of the Corsican gang who rules the prison, he is given a number of “missions” to carry out, toughening him up and gaining the gang leader’s confidence in the process. But Malik is brave and a fast learner, daring to secretly develop his own plans.

Audiard 7

Director's Biography

Jacques Audiard

Jacques Audiard was born in Paris in 1952, to a family of film workers. His father, Michel Audiard, was a popular writer and director, and his uncle worked as a producer. At first, Jacques Audiard did not want to be part of the film world, and studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne. One of his first experiences in film was working as assistant editor on Roman Polanski’s film The Tenant (1976). He simultaneously worked on adapting contemporary French novels for theatre and film.

He wrote the script for Georges Lautner’s The Professional (1982) together with his father. Both The Professional and the script he wrote for Deadly Circuit – Claude Miller’s noted thriller – began as adaptations.

He made his directorial debut with See How They Fall (1994) Mathieu Kassovitz Jean-Lous Trintignant and Jean Yanne star in this combination of a road movie and film noir, which won three César Awards, including the award for Best First Work.

Kassovitz and Trintignant also played the lead role in Jacques Audiard’s second film. A Self-Made Hero (1996) is a provocative examination of the myth about De Gaulle and the French resistance during the Nazi Occupation. This movie won Audiard the award for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival. Read My Lips (1998) focuses of the problems of a deaf-mute woman and a former convict and talks about loneliness and self-effacement in society. The movie won three César Awards: Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Emmanuelle Devos), and Best Sound.

Jacques Audiard’s next movie The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) is a remake of James Toback’s Fingers (1978.) The protagonist of the movie is a young man torn between two worlds: the world of music that his mother belongs to and shady business that his father belongs to. The movie received César Awards in eight categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, as well as many other international awards.

His movie, A Prophet (2009), which follows the rise of a young, illiterate Arab in a harsh prison environment, won the César Award in nine categories, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival, and numerous other prestigious international awards. In the words of the director, this prison movie was not intended to be a social critique, but an “attempt to make iconic representations in cinema for the people who do not already have such representations, for French Arabs.”

Audiard’s next movie, Rust and Bone (2012), about a love affair between a single father and a woman who trains killer whales, avoids all genre stereotypes and delivers a story free of moral judgments on the unusual decisions of his protagonists.

Jacques Audiard’s latest movie, Dheepan (2015), was awarded the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.