Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Omar Sharif, Pierre Boulanger, Gilbert Melki, Isabelle Renauld, Lola Naymark
Director: François Dupeyron
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Some crowded Parisian atmosphere and the burnished presence of Omar Sharif make this coming-of-age tale a pleasure. It's the early 1960s, and an adolescent Jewish boy (Pierre Boulanger), mostly left to his own devices by a... more »
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AGO S. (compac) from CHRISTIANSBRG, VA
Reviewed on 2/5/2009...
Fun to see Omar Sharif in this role, older but still suave...
Interesting and captivating story.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 10/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Monsieur Ibrahim" is a fine coming-of-age tale set in 1960's Paris. Young Pierre Boulanger gives a remarkably assured performance as Moses, a Jewish teen living with his cold, skinflint of a dad in a less-than-savory part of town. Abandoned by his mother and living in the shadow of a brother who has himself fled the scene, Moses leads an embittered existence, seeking surcease in the beds of the local prostitutes who ply their trade on the street where he lives. Moses is finally befriended by an aged shopkeeper named Ibrahim Demirdji, a Safi Muslim who, after Moses' father commits suicide, adopts the boy and instills in him valuable life lessons, gleaned from his religious training and his long years of experience.
In terms of its storyline, "Monsieur Ibrahim" offers little that is new here (the idea of an older mentor figure raising an orphan child of a different religion goes at least as far back as "The Two of Us" in 1968 and probably much further) . Where it excels is in its tenderhearted view of daily life and in its subtle plea for understanding between Arab and Jew. Moses is an almost heartbreakingly ordinary kid, a fact which makes his story all the more compelling (he has much of the rough-and-tumble poignancy of the boy in "The 400 Blows"). We can identify with every emotion he is going through on his painful journey to adulthood: his fears, his insecurities, his need for acceptance, his appreciation of simple kindnesses. Moses lives in a world where life can sometimes be cruel, but where fellow human beings reach out to help one another in their moments of greatest need.
This is a beautiful, heartfelt film that doesn't stand on its head to try and impress us. It seeps into our hearts one scene at a time, until, by the end, we realize what a profound emotional impact it has had on us. Veteran actor Omar Sharif is wonderful as the solid and wise Monsieur Ibrahim, but it is Boulanger who is the real revelation here. This amazing young actor is the true heart and soul of the film, an absolute natural. He is very rarely off screen, and he rivets our attention on his character in a way that most highly paid movie actors can merely dream about doing. I hope he makes many more films in the future.
"A smile can work wonders."
S. Calhoun | Chicago, IL United States | 03/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by Francois Dupeyron, MONSIEUR IBRAHIM is a delightful poignant film about friendship between two unlikely individuals. Set in Paris during the 1960's with beautiful cinematography and a soundtrack that enhances the film greatly, watching this film was a truly wonderful experience. Young Moses (nicknamed Momo) is in the prime of his adolescence. His life rarely travels outside of his neighborhood and he constantly gazes at the world from his bedroom window. His emotionally absent father is a jerk and his mother and older brother abandoned them when he was a child. Momo's life gains much significance when he befriends Ibrahim, the neighborhood shopkeeper across the street. They become unlikely friends crossing both generational and religious boundaries. Ibrahim enlightens Momo on many philosophical and religious topics. As the film progresses, Ibrahim has become both a friend and a father figure to Momo. There are many delightful and funny scenes in this film, including Ibrahim's adventures of learning how to drive and Momo's relationship with the local prostitutes. These scenes are successfully balanced with the more dire circumstances that Momo has endured throughout his young life. While watching MONSIEUR IBRAHIM the audience is easily taken through a variety of emotions, and this is a clear attribute of good filmmaking. This film's authenticity, honesty and brilliant acting took me by surprise, as I surely wasn't prepared to enjoy this film as much as I did. In the current world political climate it's wonderful to watch a film where characters that are at opposite ends of religious strife look past their differences and embrace each other. Bravo to Omar Sharif and all others who were involved in making this film. Highly recommended."
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MONSIEUR IBRAHIM AND THE FLOWERS OF THE KORAN is an exquisite little film. The story is rather simple on the surface: a 16 year old Jewish boy (Moses Schmitt in an extraordinary portrayal by Pierre Boulanger) is coming of age on Blue Street in Paris (a street that features prostitutes plying their wares) in the late 1950s - early 1960s. His mother deserted both his distant and damaged father (Gilbert Melki) and Moses very early in life and Moses must find his way into adulthood on his own - until he gets to know the 'Arab' (actually an elder Muslim) at the corner grocery (Monsieur Ibrahim brilliantly brought to glowing life by Omar Sharif). To survive, Moses 'shoplifts' food until M. Ibrahim tells him to take what he wants, knowing that his father deprives him of nearly everything. The old man is as gentle and calm and serene ("I know what is in my Koran") as Moses is angry and eager to taste life. Moses uses saved pennies to buy his first sexual encounter with one of the prostitutes and is gradually befriended by many of the 'heart of gold' streetwalkers. Slowly Moses and M. Ibrahim are bond and when Moses' father deserts him and commits suicide, M. Ibrahim adopts him, buys a sporty little car and the two are off on a road trip to Turkey (Ibrahim's Persian home). As the two bond the boy learns much from the spiritually aware old man and we, as the observers, learn much about the differences and similarities of Judaism, Islam, pantheism, and all manifestations of spirtuality. The ending is somewhat predictable but that doesn't diminish the impact of the film. This burnished atmosphere of trust and love is magic in the hands of Director Francois Dupeyron and the performances by Sharif and Boulanger are beautifully nuanced and understated. Even the prostitutes are individuals, not archetypes, and are allowed to deliver tender portrayals of the Oldest Profession. The only problems with this movie are in the apparently important threads, such as the father's constant mention of 'Paulie' (Moses' brother) who by the end of the story never existed, and in the development of the road trip which veers a bit too far off course to maintain the otherwise perfect momentum. But small tarnishes, these, and not important enough to prevent this movie as being placed among the more important films of the past year or so. Highly Recommended."