A Prophet is a 2009 French prison film directed by Jacques Audiard. Audiard claims that the film aims at “creating icons, images for people who don’t have images in movies, like the Arabs in France,” though he also had stated that the film “has nothing to do with his vision of society,” and is a work of fiction.
The film was a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards, in 2010.
Malik El Djebena, nineteen years old, French of North African descent, is sentenced to six years in prison for attacking police officers. Alone and illiterate upon his arrival at the racially divided prison, he falls under the sway of Corsican mobsters, led by Cesar Luciani, who enforces a brutal rule.
Un prophète | Trailer
The Corsicans think little of the North Africans. However, Malik comes under their protection after he is forced to complete an assignment for them: the murder of Reyeb, a hostile witness in the next cell block. Although the victim haunts Malik for years afterward, Luciani offers Malik protection, and enlists him to make coffee and play cards with his gang.
When the bulk of the Corsicans are transferred or released, Luciani calls on Malik, who has secretly been studying Corsican, to be his eyes and ears in the prison, eventually arranging day-long furloughs for Malik that allow him to conduct Luciani’s business on the outside. A hostage swap, a casino negotiation – he becomes more reliable than even the gang’s longtime attorney.
Director & Writer: Thomas Bidegain & Jacques Audiard
Country: France | Italy
Language: French | Arabic | Corsican
Release Date: 11 March 2010