USA Today - 02/13/2004
"It's an easygoing coming-of-age movie....Writer/director Francois Dupeyron has an impressive camera eye..."
Vividly portraying a 1960s Paris neighborhood where lower-class status unites residents of varied religious and ethnic backgrounds, MONSIEUR IBRAHIM follows the universally appealing story of a young boy's coming of age. Moses (Pierre Boulanger), a Jewish teenager, lives in an apartment with his depressed father. His father's detachment leaves Moses with ample time for listening to rock music, pursuing alluring prostitutes, and making daily visits to the corner grocery where he befriends the owner, Monsieur Ibrahim (Omar Sharif). Monsieur Ibrahim looks the other way when Moses steals food, teaches him the difference between being Arab and being Muslim, and dispenses advice on life, love, and happiness. When Moses' father eventually abandons him, Monsieur Ibrahim adopts him and cements the father-son bond that each of them desperately needs.
Though never the focus of the film, the exploration of religion and ethnicity underscores French attitudes toward immigrants in that era, and establishes differences between the main characters. Moses' openness to learning about Monsieur Ibrahim's Sufi practices and studying the Koran reflects not only the blending of cultures in 20th-century France, but also the boy's yearning for parental direction, values, and affection. A brilliant cast--including a thoughtful performance by Sharif--and a period-perfect soundtrack of American and French rock music, enhance the already compelling story. In the tradition of other films that examine the importance of the father figure, like KOLYA and THE BICYCLE THIEF, MONSIEUR IBRAHIM provides a complex, touching, humorous study of this fundamental relationship.
Coming Of Age |
Paris, France |
Prostitutes / Whores |