Prisoners and prophets

In today’s NY Times: an article by Michael Kimmelman about contemporary French filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s new film Un prophète (2009), which premiered this summer at Cannes and is France’s submission for the Best Foreign Film category in the 2010 Academy Awards. Un prophète has generated a stir amongst the French political and prison communities alike for its depiction of Corsican and Arab prison gang culture in a vastly overcrowded penitentiary; Audiard has refused to regard his film as a critique of the French penal system, which is arguably the worst in western Europe, but many are linking Un prophète to the sensibility of American prison dramas like HBO’s Oz or Fox’s Prison Break. Un prophète will be released in the US in February 2010, and it seems like something worth going out of one’s way to see. As my comrade the Sconz never tires of tellin’ ya, most western societies need prison reform in the worst way—especially France and the US.

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