Monsieur Ibrahim: Film Critique Table of Contents I. Introduction 3 II. Discussion 3 III. Conclusion 10 Works Cited 12 I. Introduction This paper is a critique of the movie 'Monsieur Ibrahim' with a focus on the religious themes that were portrayed in the film, what the themes are and how those themes were explored and portrayed…
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Interrelated themes include an expansive view of Islam that respects other religions and other faiths, and views all men with love and respect. They also include a cosmopolitan Islam that is embraces all, the prostitute, the Jew, the Orthodox, the Catholic, and the saint, with equal reverence and compassion. These themes meanwhile tie up with the theme of the differences between formal religion, doctrine, and churches on the one hand, and a personal and lived spirituality as typified by the Sufi spirituality of Ibrahim on the other. It is about how a personal spirituality that is grounded on an authentic view of God is also an authentic way of viewing the message of the Koran (Ernst; Siddiqui; “Monsieur Ibrahim”). II. Discussion The physical context is France, in a section of Paris where prostitutes ply their trade. The main characters play out roles as a Jewish teenager about to become a man. and as an old Sufi Muslim and store owner, who from the beginning seems to have a connection with the young man. He is able seemingly to read his thoughts. Their social and religious associations hint at a deeper reality that needs probing. Being Jew has social contexts, and so is being an “Arab” in France. Moises is Momo to Monsieur Ibrahim. The old man's name hints at his Muslim roots, and he does not hide it. We learn that he is Muslim, and he is a devout reader of the Koran, but that he is also a Sufi, a religious adept. As a Sufi he disregards the legalistic, dogmatic side of Islam. He thus so to favor of a personal spirituality. Outwardly he is friendly and calm, and certainly not at all intimidated by the young boy's Jewishness. The Jewish name stands in stark contrast to Ibrahim intense association to Islam. They are meeting in Paris, cosmopolitan, a melting pot of cultures and religions. They are also in that part of the city where the prostitutes work day in and day out, and Ibrahim is not at all fazed by any of this. Ibrahim is in a cosmopolitan city, while he himself seems to be a cosmopolitan in a religious and spiritual sense. Nothing seems to be outside of his circle of acceptance. One can even say that his very presence in a seedy part of town, his calm demeanor, and his offer of friendship and fatherly affection to a Jewish boy hints at a deep interior. They seem to mark Ibrahim as someone who is in touch with a greater spiritual reality than what one sees on the surface of things. He is someone too that the young man needs, a good father figure in place of his distant one. He seems out of place with his kindness and his Koran in Paris, with the women going in and out of his store. Even his own somewhat foolish and sentimental self seems out of place there. Take away the external trappings of the city and its 60's environs, and this could be anywhere in the world. Here a Sufi adept resides, and is at peace with everything around him. He is somewhat above the ordinary things of that life, and focused on the religious side of the ordinary things (Ernst; Siddiqui; “Monsieur Ibrahim”). On the other hand we have the Jewish boy himself, Moises, Momo, somewhat adventurous but also not too filled with dogma. He is somewhat unsure and not inclined to certainties, a spiritual novice who seem to have his heart in the right place. Hiring prostitutes, he nevertheless seems to exude a certain spiritual energy doing it, being kind to the whores, and ...
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