After watching A Prophet, I can say that Jacques Audiard may have become one of my favorite contemporary French filmmakers. De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté was a great little film, a rare case in which a remake improves on the original (apologies to fans of Toback) but Un prophète is one of the best films of the year and maybe even one of the better films of the decade. While most critics point to the social realism of the film, the film’s strength lie in combining social realism with the narrative arch and tension of a genre film. The film works great on both counts – as an expose of prison life and anti-Arab racism in France but also as a fairly traditional gangster film. I think it’s comparable in approach to a film like Gomorrah in terms of reinventing a genre.
Thanks. Haven’t seen it. Waiting.
De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté was really good, and I am predisposed against all remakes everywhere, into perpetuity.
I see it’s top film of the year in Sight and Sound’s poll of 60 critics (see my list)
Ari, I absolutely agree. One of the best films of 2009 and a fantastic addition to the gangster genre.
I really like Jacques Audiard. I don’t think Un Prophete is better than De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté, which has that amazing performance by Romain Duris, or better than Sur mes lèvres, with has very good performances by Emmanuelle Devos and Vincent Cassel, and the cinematic possibilities provided by her deafness.
i agree too ! just seen it yesterday,and in my opinion,this is the best cinema has to offers in the last 12 month,or even more.,i really like the intense feelings,the drama,and the tour de force performance of Tahar Rahim
vive le cinema français
i can’t wait to see this, and it doesn’t start at the drexel until april!
what am i going to do with myself until then??
Was anyone else bothered by the “fantasy”/more unrealistic scenes? For example the scene with the deer or the scenes involving the dead inmate. I understand the importance within the narrative of the film, but every time one of them occurred it seemed to ruin the tone of the film that Audiard did such a fantastic job of setting. Luckily the film would quickly recover after these scenes, but still a minor flaw in my opinion.
Hoberman gave the film a strange mixed review in the Village Voice today. He seems to resent the fact that people love the film. His main gripe is that he says it is too slavishly faithful to 70s American cinema. I don’t agree. He seems to be taking knowledge about Audiard (the fact that he remade a 70s American film) and using it against him. The strength of the film to me is how it marries the best of 70s American cinema (obviously, gangster films as a point of reference) with a strong socio-political critique that wouldn’t be out of place in a Dardenne brothers film. Stylistically and aesthetically, I think the film moves between American and European traditions (unlike a film like La Haine which IS probably too faithful to 70s American cinema – not that that’s a bad thing at all).
I watched a trailer and it was all shot in close up and medium close shots.
Experimental fragments, magical realism, social realism, matted shots, stunning acting, emotional rhythm of the editing.. awesome. This film is touching and relevant. The best I have seen in years.