Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran
Autumn 2004 Main series
Sunday, October 3, 2004 at 4:00pm
Sunday, October 3, 2004 at 7:00pm
Monday, October 4, 2004 at 7:00pm
Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS
Rated NR ·
Acclaimed director François Dupeyron (La Chambre des Officiers) fashions another intimate masterpiece with Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran, a poignant tale about finding family and faith which appeared as a Special Presentation at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival.
It is summertime in Paris in the sixties. Adolescent Moïse (Pierre Boulanger) — nicknamed Momo — lives with his father (Gilbert Melki) on the city’s rue Bleue. His mother and older brother left years ago, so he and his father have settled into an acrimonious routine in which Momo spends his days alone, watching the world go by and making supper. Momo’s father constantly compares him to his absent brother and even forgets his birthday. After launching unguided into the confusions of adolescent life, Momo finds support in an unexpected corner. The neighbourhood shopkeeper, Ibrahim (Omar Sharif, in what may be his most charming role) is totally ignored by his clients; no one gives any thought to the elderly man who sits behind the register, reading his Koran and always giving exact change. Yet he has watched Momo grow up and, as the boy’s teen years present ever more isolating challenges, Ibrahim takes him under his wing. Ibrahim follows the Sufi faith and, as Momo shares in his new father figure’s generosity, vitality and piety, a brighter future opens before him.
Based upon Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s novel, the story unfolds through inspired vignettes: a film crew recreates a scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris in the middle of the rue Bleue (complete with a cameo by Isabelle Adjani in the Brigitte Bardot role); Ibrahim and Momo pay for a gleaming new convertible — in cash; the pair exalt in the extraordinary sight of the dance of Sufi whirling dervishes; and an exquisite montage of panoramic skies allows us to share their experience of travelling — as though by flying carpet — over Europe to Ibrahim’s Turkish home. With astonishingly beautiful cinematography and phenomenal performances by the young Boulanger and the incomparable Sharif, this touching film leads us back in time, down bustling Parisian streets and finally across Europe on an emotional journey of discovery.