This is one of those articles that seems like pushing a rock uphill — possibly unfamiliar names in the title, a movie that we don’t have much info on, etc. Why should you care about Cool Water? For one, because the newly cast Tahar Rahim is amazing in Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet. And because Emir Kusturica can be a great director, and much of his recent output has been hard to find. He’s got that Pancho Villa movie brewing with Johnny Depp, but in the meantime Cool Water sounds like the Kusturica film I’m really going to want to see. Read More »


If a male filmmaker desires to throw up grim truth and reality before the eyes of moviegoers and also swoon critics, many of whom subsist on darker themes, he will at some point consider making a film about war or prison. There are no greater immediate settings for tapping perennial sentiments of a mad world, or for demystifying masculinity by scraping it and reducing it to a primal essence. Unlike the ambitious gangster or mob film, reputable prison dramas tend to feature a protagonist that is closer to us, a person thrown to hell rather than embodying it, nakedly amidst wolves as opposed to running with them. (Ironic, given these characters’ punishments at the hands of society and/or government.)

Engrossing and well-crafted but formulaic and borderline genre-fare, A Prophet is the latest prison film to follow this mold and punch its way creatively outward. Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, A Prophet has landed on a number of top 10 lists for 2009; with a domestic release forthcoming, we’ll likely see its inclusion on many of this year’s as well.

Read More »