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The Film – Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
On the imaginary island of Orphalese, the poet and artist Mustafa continues his writing and painting, despite being under house arrest for many years. He is looked after by Kamila, a beautiful housekeeper, and Hakim, his friendly guard. Kamila’s troubled, silent young daughter, Almitra, forms an unlikely friendship with Mustafa. When he is released from house arrest and ordered to leave the country, she trails along. On the way, Mustafa passes by a village wedding, an outdoor café, and a marketplace. At each place, the poet is asked to share his wisdom with the townspeople. Immensely popular and revered by the townspeople, he is increasingly perceived as a threat by the authoritarian government of Orphalese.
The film is inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s beloved book of poetic essays, The Prophet, but there is so little plot in the original story — just a man waiting for a ship and addressing his followers, that producer Salma Hayek felt that additional background, characterization, and events would make the film more accessible and more appealing to families. She and the other producers turned to writer and director Roger Allers, best known for the Disney film The Lion King, to write the storyline and to give direction to the main narrative. With a setting that is deliberately ambiguous, the events could happen anywhere in the Mediterranean, with many characters modeled after people Allers met in Crete as a young man.
An animated narrative becomes a frame story in which marvelous and dreamlike animations are embedded. As Mustafa discourses on love, marriage, work, and other major life issues, the child Almitra’s imagination soars and the viewer is engaged in fantastical and magical interludes that interpret the philosophical messages. Several different artists from France, Dubai, Poland, Ireland, and the United States directed the animation, each with free rein to interpret and illustrate a poem. The animations, all very different from each other, nevertheless blend seamlessly into the main story.
The Curriculum Guide – Available for Free
“If [the teacher] is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”
These words, from a poem by Kahlil Gibran called “On Teaching,” exhort teachers to practice humility and challenge us: How do we lead our students to the thresholds of their own minds? This curriculum guide will help you achieve that goal by introducing lessons that encourage both critical thinking and creativity.
The film Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and the accompanying curriculum guide may be used independently or in conjunction with the study of the book The Prophet in world literature, American literature, poetry, creative writing, and even Advanced Placement literature classes. It is important that students understand the textual differences between the original book and the film.
The Prophet in one sitting. If you are teaching the entire unit, you should decide whether to show it once or several times. The film clips of the embedded animations used in the lessons are indicated by starting and stopping numbers. Please note that these are approximate, depending on your specific version of the film. Some clips include a bit of the main story because the poem recitation begins before the animation or continues after it. Take the time to set up your projection method before the class begins and bookmark the clip you wish to use so that you can integrate the film clip smoothly into your instruction. New and used printed copies of The Prophet are readily available in bookstores and libraries, and over the Internet. A new paperback edition is due for release in conjunction with the release of the film.
The movie (www.gibransprophetmovie.com) is now showing nationally On Demand on cable/satellite systems, listed under “Kahlil/Prophet” and both DVD as well as Blu-Ray’s with special material are available from Amazon.com
- Art History, Philosophy, Social Studies, English Language Arts | Who Was Kahlil Gibran?
- Art, Art History | The Art of Kahlil Gibran
- English Language Arts | On Freedom
- English Language Arts | On Children
- English Language Arts) | On Marriage
- English Language Arts | On Work
- English Language Arts | On Eating and Drinking
- English Language Arts | On Love
- English Language Arts | On Good and Evil
- English Language Arts | On Death
- Film Literacy | The Visual Imagery of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
Authors: Jack Burton, Anne Engles, Kathryn Fitzgerald, Jonathan Freeman-Coppadge, Bengt Johnson , Matt McCormick , Laura Zlatos
More resources and companion pieces for “The Prophet” can be found at https://edtwist.com/journeysinfilm?q=the%20prophet