Directed by François Dupeyron | Year 2003
Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran started out as a play but grew into a novel and eventually a movie. Being a collaboration between the author Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt and director François Dupeyron, the movie features grand names such as Omar Sharif (Lawrence of Arabia) who even received a César Award (national film award of France) for his portrayal of Monsieur Ibrahim himself.
Nominated for one Golden Globe, the story focuses on Moïse or also known as Mo, a Jewish boy who lives with his father in one of the lesser neighborhoods of Paris. With his father being away all day, Mo must take care of almost everything at home. He frequently steals from the local store, the ‘Arab’, who turns out to be, despite what his dad told him, a nice guy after all. The ‘Arab’ who is in fact a Turkish shop owner develops a close relationship to Mo and basically becomes his true father.
Although religion is not the most important aspect in the movie, it does play an important role in setting out the characters. Momo is Jewish and Ibrahim is a Muslim. Both obviously have different backgrounds but they also share life’s lessons: for example hanging out with prostitutes and finding true happiness. The mutual acceptance of the two faiths has been personified extraordinarily. Through the characters we see many morals and values come true.
Monsieur Ibrahim: Slowness is the key to happiness.
Surprisingly, Monsieur Ibrahim is one of the few movies that does not immediately aim to serve a moral judgment about religion nor human behaviour. The harsh reality of the Parisian neighborhood is shown through different angles from the main character Momo. Aided by the excellent perfomances of the two protagonists, this movie manages to explore, for some of us, unfamiliar cultures and environments. That is perhaps unrealistic in some parts, but generally speaking, it stays a catchy storyline to follow.
Not to forget the great soundtrack and the funny awkward scenes, Monsieur Ibrahim is an unbiased story without getting too sentimental.