With its mellifluous female voiceover and fascinating observational footage, Gary Tarn’s visualisation of ‘The Prophet’, the million-selling poem from 1923 by Kahlil Gibran, curiously echoes Chris Marker’s ‘Sans Soleil’. But Gibran’s mystical pronouncements differ wildly from the French filmmaker’s musings on fleeting moments. Beloved by generations of readers, scorned by the critics, Gibran’s spiritually portentous language is beautifully read by Thandie Newton while Tarn – assembling images from his travels – sometimes illustrates the prophet’s journey, sometimes finds a metaphorical representation of the text. Tarn demands a viewer alive to both words and pictures, but marrying Gibran’s inclusive, dogma-free vision to the affection with which the camera views everything from a London nude bicycling demo to Lebanese shoemakers at work, he delivers a heady rush of affirmation. Tarn’s expansive, intimate, lovely film lets us share the connectedness of humanity, as we see lovers, workers, families all over the world getting on with the business of being alive.
Friday September 21 2012