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Monsieur Ibrahim (Version française)

Omar Sharif , Pierre Boulanger , François Dupeyron    DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 71.92
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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome July 18 2004
Monsieur Ibraham is an enjoyable coming of age movie. It's the French version of Cinema Paradiso. The acting is superb, especially Sharif (I didnt know he jnew French) An awesome film that will put a smile on your face.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet Wisdom July 8 2004
By Grady Harp TOP 500 REVIEWER
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. Read more ›
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The coming-of-age movie is a really tricky thing to pull off. Most of them are either raunchy and vapid, and then others are too introspective and just cloying. Well, this lightweight of a French film, which has gotten rave reviews for Sharif's justifiably great performance, is a little bit of both and - in the end - neither. Ibrahim begins with a toe-tapping, swingin' 60's soundtrack as Moses Schmitt (Pierre Boulanger) practices pickup lines for hookers, and for a while it does seem like a New Wave-inspired flick complete with handheld camera angles and a negletive father. Schmitt, a Jew, soon picks up with the local grocer (Sharif, the title character) who happens to be a Muslim, and as their strange friendship develops, director Duperyon's adaptation reaches high for themes of clashing religion and the shared experiences of the young and old. And for the most part, Ibrahim is an enjoyable ride. I enjoyed its light feel, Boulanger's breakout performance, and the fact that the kid is the uptight cynic and Sharif's Ibrahim turns out to be the wide-eyed life-lover.
Unfortunately, though, Ibrahim just can't juggle all of its plot strands and be a truly meaningful film in the end - the neglectful father leaves and Ibrahim adopts, Schmitt's mother drops in, the new father and son take a (lazily edited) road trip...and then the movie ends in a tragedy that you'll see coming a mile away. The movie's short and harmless, by all means, but the movie just doesn't make sense in an emotional way; we never see enough of the developing friendship of Schmitt and Boulanger. And the final tragedy? Well, the dialogue is so ham-handed it seems ripped straight from a novel (which it probably was). As much as I admired and enjoyed the light tone of Ibrahim, intelligently laced with a current of sadness beneath, it never can let the two coexist and just ends up being disappointing. GRADE: B-
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"This is the first time I've seen you rent a foreign language film on your own", said my wife, knowing I usually need heckling to watch something without frequent explosions or some sci-fi "high concept". I think that after recently reviewing I, Robot, Harry Potter III and The Day After Tomorrow I needed a change of pace and watching this beautiful film was a thoroughly pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening.
This is a coming-of-age movie set in 1960s Paris about a young Jewish boy, Moses (Momo), with a rapidly-dwindling immediate family and his burgeoning friendship with local Sufi Muslim corner shop keeper, the titular Monsieur Ibrahim. The kid is charming but probably won't be changing any of your prejudices about French teenagers when he becomes the local prostitutes' favourite and romances the girl next door.
Sharif shines as Ibrahim, coming on like the friendly uncle you never had, dispensing sage advice to young Momo just when he needs it most. And although there is tragedy lurking behind both protagonists' lives, the film is never maudlin and raises your spirits at the most unlikely times. There are also many gently comic moments such as the menu Momo and Ibrahim put together for Momo's vindictive father or trying to buy a new car with cash. People in the film tend to receive their karmic comeuppance without it seeming too forced or far-fetched.
This is a moving, gentle film about the importance of friendship and spirituality. Although set some forty years ago, the message you get at the end is that these things are just as important today and the cyclic nature of history. I thoroughly recommend this film who feels they've overdosed on Hollywood lately and wants a different kind of escapism and assurance on human nature.
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