Salma Hayek Launches 'The Prophet' in Lebanon

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  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Hollywood star Salma Hayek, in her ancestral homeland Lebanon for the first time, launched the global premiere of her animated adaptation of Kahlil Gibran's celebrated novel "The Prophet" on Monday.

The Mexican actress and director described the movie version of the Lebanese author's spiritually-uplifting book as a "love letter to my heritage."

She said the adaptation, which features an all-star cast, was a "personal film" because her Lebanese grandfather loved The Prophet.

"Through this book, I got to know my grandfather. Through this book, I had my grandfather teaching me about life," said the star, who has been in Lebanon since Friday.

The Prophet, now in its 163rd edition, is widely considered the second most-read book in the world, after the Bible.

The movie adaptation, screened in Beirut on Monday evening, features the voices of Hayek, along with actors Liam Neeson, Alfred Molina and Frank Langella.

A collection of poems and prose, originally written in English, The Prophet has been translated into more than 40 languages since its first publication in 1923.

It tells the story of Almustafa, who before returning to his homeland, speaks to residents of the city of Orphalese about different aspects of life -- love, work, children, friendship and death.

The movie is entirely animated, with dream-like fantasy sequences as Almustafa -- called simply Mustafa in the film -- shares his wisdom before being expelled by authorities because of his rebellious poetry.

Divided into 26 chapters, verses from "The Prophet" are often quoted at births, weddings and funerals around the world.

"Your children are not your children, they come through you but not from you," one popular line reads.

"When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep," reads another, a regular at weddings.

Gibran wrote most of his books in the United States, where he headed the New York Pen League, the first Arab-American literary society, although he was born in Lebanon under Ottoman rule.

- Realizing 'old dream' -

Hayek said visiting Lebanon had allowed her to realize an "old dream" of visiting the birthplace of Gibran, the country's most famous writer.

She said she hoped her adaptation of the book would demonstrate "to the world that there is an Arabic writer who wrote philosophy and poetry, who brought all religions and all the world together, and has sold more than 100 million copies around the world for many generations." 

"We wanted to do (him) justice, we want the world to remember" him.

Despite his popularity among readers, Gibran's most famous work received a lukewarm reception at the time of writing from American critics, who criticized it as simplistic and moralizing. 

Hayek's adaptation, first screened at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, is an international effort involving 10 directors and nine producers from Canada, France, Lebanon, Qatar and the United States.

It will begin screening publicly in Lebanon from April 30, and in the United States during the summer.

Hayek said the adaptation was animated in a bid to better convey Gibran's message to a younger generation, with the script produced by Roger Allers, who directed Disney's "The Lion King."

The film is scored by French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, who worked on "The English Patient."

Hayek also acknowledged the region's ongoing political turmoil during her visit to Lebanon, meeting with some of the nearly 1.2 million Syrian refugees living in the country.

"I was very moved by many of the stories. There was a girl, for example, because of the traumas she was paralyzed, and she was able to walk with me yesterday thanks to the psychological aid," she told AFP.

"I was deeply moved by their courage and their hope."

Hayek said the whole trip to Lebanon had been full of emotion.

"There are too many things that are emotional, from reconnecting with my roots and being able to see the house of my family... to the love of the people, to the refugee camp, to the kids with cancer that I went to see today, to the reaction of the people after seeing the movie," she said.

In tribute to Gibran, her visit also included a stop in his hometown of Bsharre, where the writer was buried after he died in 1931, aged just 48, of tuberculosis.

Comments 22
Default-user-icon Je Suis the_roar (Guest) 27 April 2015, 08:03

As a Shia follower of Khomeini I will forgive & pray for those who insult my Lords, Sayyid Hassan Nassrallah and Sheikh Sayyid Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.

Thumb lebanon_first 27 April 2015, 19:30

Why get Salma Hayek here and launch the prophet from here? I propose instead to start a fresh new war.

Lebanon should not launch movies. It should do wars and resist and do wars and resist. Please, anyone. A cause. Any cause. We can send our youth to die for it, and be glorious, instead of stupidly celebrating the writer of the second most read book on earth.

Default-user-icon Salma.fakeeh (Guest) 27 April 2015, 08:55

thank you Salma Hayek for supporting the resistance and sayyed hassan. We love you

Default-user-icon Prophet (Guest) 27 April 2015, 14:22

@Salma.fakeeh, everything Salma Hayek stands for counters all the core beliefs of the culture of the resistance and Hassan.

Default-user-icon salma.fakeeh (Guest) 27 April 2015, 20:00

@prophet, salma hayek is the sister of mahmoud hayek who is wrongly accused of trying to assassinate Butrus Harb. How can she not be with the resistance.

Default-user-icon Prophet (Guest) 28 April 2015, 13:06

At this silly obvious verifiable lie from the pro resistance propagandist, ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

Default-user-icon fedup (Guest) 27 April 2015, 09:39

wow. for once this site does not publish any political news and these are the two comments we get.

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 April 2015, 12:47

Trolling brought to you by They hate this country so much have to pollute every single news, good or bad, with their cultural specialty.

Default-user-icon mowaten.fantoura (Guest) 27 April 2015, 19:57

even on this article you have to express your opinion?

Thumb freedomarch 27 April 2015, 13:48

Salma, Bienvenida a Libano, tierra santa, tu tierra.

Thumb Maxx 27 April 2015, 14:23

Hah; was thinking the same thing...

Thumb kanaanljdid 27 April 2015, 21:35

It will be banned because one of the secondary actors has a friend whose wife has a sister who talked with the husband of an Israeli.

Thumb Mrowwe 27 April 2015, 23:27

Who came up with this?

"The Prophet, now in its 163rd edition, is widely considered the second most-read book in the world, after the Bible."

So Jibrans "the Prophet" is more read than the Quran that even non-arabs read in arabic? Not to forget the translations of the Quran in english, turkish, urdu, malay, french, german, bosnian and so on.

I'm gonna need to see proof for this statement that appears (at least to me) as far fetched.

Thumb freedomarch 28 April 2015, 14:03

Freedom of speech, Ashrafieh? CHRISTIANITY is not what you writing here, that is trying to say 1.3 bilion people are terrorists. Please know that Quran, teachs everything except what you think.

Default-user-icon Bistouille (Guest) 28 April 2015, 14:46

Bistro, it's the second most READ book, not published book. Literacy goes a long way when it comes to READING a book. I would suggest you research literacy rates in those countries that you believe have avid Quran readers.

Default-user-icon HAH (Guest) 28 April 2015, 00:28

Woopti doooo...l

Missing helicopter 28 April 2015, 05:15

It is a sad reminder of the Lebanon that once was a lighthouse of richness and intellectuality. Then Syria's (Assad's) Policies destroyed us and HA was created to ensure the continuity of our submission to ignorant Mullahs and tyrant Asssad.

Thumb -phoenix1 28 April 2015, 12:25

First, Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Lebanese partisans tried to Egyptize us, then came the turn of Yasser Arafat who tried to Palestinize us, then Hafez Al Assad and his boy who tried to Syrianize us, then after that, we got Sayed Hassan who is trying to Iranize us, now Yemenize us, Hariri trying to Saudinize us, ad the best thing is that such things could never happen if they did not have Lebanese stooges to help them do the job. But what they have to live with is this: There will always be more than enough Lebanese who will stand on their way.

Missing helicopter 28 April 2015, 17:11

Well said phoenix, but it takes a true Lebanese to fully comprehend it.

Default-user-icon MEASTGARBAGEOFTHEWORLD (Guest) 28 April 2015, 17:49

Well maybe but as Lebanese we do get sodomized regularly

Thumb -phoenix1 28 April 2015, 15:28

Whyask, my memory still serves me right, Bachir only wanted a true Lebanon, a Lebanon for all the Lebanese, in which the Christian will be treated as an equal partner, as a citizen who would live in it without any form of complex. Bachir wanted a Lebanon freed of its ingrained sicknesses amongst which is the rampant and endemic corruption. Bachir succeeded in doing even if for only about a month, Lebanon was possibly at its very best. Just shows the kind of miracles we can make, when we are led by such great leaders. sad to say this, but one look at what we've got right now will just show how low we've reached, from the Olympian heights we enjoyed for a month under Bachir.

Default-user-icon Do not tarry (Guest) 28 April 2015, 19:24

As usual the visit was covered by every Lebanese network, the Qatari Al Jazeera, the Saudi Al Arabiya but not by the Iranian Al Manar. To be fair, Salma Hayek was promoting Jebran Khalil Jebran's, a Lebanese cultural icon, book The Prophet nothing that should concern Al Manar culturally, philosophically or historically. If Hayek was promoting the Iranian film Mesih, a movie that denies Christ's Resurrection, Al Manar would have covered it as it would be culturally relevant to it.