Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Is Khalil Gibran's The Prophet?

Every May the best and brightest of the world's film industry descend on a coastal town in Southern France. Cannes in the world's best-known film festival, but alas it does not have much of a record for showing animated movies much love. This year Isao Takahatas' The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is screening in Director's Fortnight, which is a pretty impressive achievement, and How To Train Your Dragon 2 is screening out of competition. However, it's a rather mysterious animated film by the name of  The Prophet that really grabbed our attention.

Screening in a work-in-progress form, the film is an adaptation of the classic book by Khalil Gibran and overseen by The Lion King director Roger Allers. It's an anthology style film presented in chapters- and here's where it gets really interesting- each segment is helmed by different animation directors from around the world. The list contains some really talented folks, even if you might not have heard of all of them. The list in full:

  • Gaetan Brizzi known for directing a segment of Fantastia 2000, plus animation and design work on many other Disney productions.
  • Paul Brizzi  who also co-directed the same Fantasia sequence and worked on many Disney films and TV series.
  • Tomm Moore  Co-founder of Irish studio Cartoon Saloon, director of Secret of Kells and the forthcoming Song Of The Sea
  • Joan C Gratz  Oscar-winning director of the short Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase.
  •  Mohammed Saeed Harib animator from the United Arab Emirates, who's sole directing credit so far is a TV series named Freej.
  • Nina Paley super-talented indie animator who made the excellent unconventional feature Sita Sings The Blues.
  • Bill Plympton US animation legend and director of I Married A Strange Person and Idiots and Angels.
  • Joann Sfar French director of The Rabbi's Cat as well as the live-action bio-pic Gainsbourg.
  • Michal Socha an up-and-comer who directed award-winning short Chick and a recent Simpsons Couch Gag.

This is a really, really interesting list, mixing some well-established names with some fresher talent, and frankly Moore, Paley and Plympton alone make this an exciting prospect, even while we know little else. Details remain thin on the ground, but the voice-cast includes some big names including Salma Hayek and Liam Neeson. We don't know much, but we know that we can't wait to see it.


Originally published in 1932, The Prophet is a collection of prose poetry essays. A quick google turns up the plot synopsis:

"The Prophet" is a book of 26 poetic essays written in English by the Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer Khalil Gibran. The prophet Al-Mustafa is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses many issues of life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

The Prophet is currently in production and release details are yet to be confirmed.
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