Kahlil Gibran is a Lebanese-American writer, poet, and artist, whose best known work is The Prophet. Published in 1923, this is a collection of “poetic essays” on various life topics, including love, death, marriage, children, work, and freedom.
So when I heard that this book was made into an animated film, I was eager to see it.
I was impressed by the film. I have not seen a lot of movies where the theme is comprised of feelings and ideas, so I felt that the way the film was portrayed was effective. The story followed a young girl named Almitra, who had been mute ever since her father died two years before. She steals from all the bakers/shops in the village, causing her and her mother to gain a bad reputation. One day, instead of going to school, she follows her mom to a cottage, where Almustafa has been kept prisoner for seven years. Though she doesn’t speak to him, they connect, and he begins to tell his tales, in the form of poems and songs. What I liked about those parts was the pictures representing the theme of the song. Some were paintings that morphed into different scenes. Others were geometric shapes, like colorful birds and profiles of people.
The film was very enjoyable. I appreciated that there was a plot, though a rather simple one, which accompanied the philosophical teachings of Kahlil Gibran. Because I am still relatively younger than the average audience for the book, some of the topics were clearly for those with more life experience, i.e. I found the poem about marriage difficult to comprehend.
However, I still could connect with some of the topics. For example, the section regarding how to raise children.
“You [the parents] may give them [the children] your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls.
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet: On Children (18)
I agree with his logic in that children should be allowed to make their own decisions, within reason. Children should not be expected to blindly follow what their parents think is the right thing to do, because everyone has their own moral compass guiding them. And after all, do we always learn a lesson just by listening to our parents? No. Often it takes trial and error. And I believe many of life’s lessons are learned through experience not purely by listening to teachings or lectures.
Overall, I would definitely recommend reading the book and/or watching the film. Both are educational and inspirational, in ways that can apply to everyone.
– Leila S. (10th grade)
The film’s source material, The Prophet, is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.