Monsieur Ibrahim (2003)

Monsieur Ibrahim1960s Paris serves as the backdrop for Francois Dupeyron’s heartwarming drama. Momo (Pierre Boulanger), a teenage orphan, lives in a working-class neighborhood and has very few friends — save for the kindly local prostitutes, who adore him. Momo soon befriends the older and wiser shopkeeper Ibrahim (Omar Sharif), who soon becomes a father figure for Momo and takes him on a journey of self-discovery that will change both of their lives.
Starring: Omar Sharif, Pierre Boulanger, More
Director: Francois Dupeyron

There is a simple beauty and wisdom in this movie. Omar Sharif comes out five year hiatus because of the quality of this script! You won’t regret having taken the time to watch this film. It has much to offer us as we witness the blossoming of human potential that results from the relationship between the grocer Ibrahim and the young boy, Momo.

What’s In It For Us
What’s in it for us are many powerfully simple lessons in paradigm shifting, self-worth, love, trust and more. And even more powerful than the lessons are demonstration that these lessons don’t have to take a lifetime of hard work, it can happen in an instant, as the following dialogue shows us.

Ibrahim: Momo how come you never smile?
Momo: I can’t afford to. Smiling is for the rich.
Ibrahim: No, smiling is what makes you happy.
Momo: When I say smiling is for the rich I mean it’s for happy people.
Ibrahim: You’re wrong, smiling is what makes you happy.
Momo: Like how?
Ibrahim: Try it you’ll see.

From this point on much of Momo’s world changes as he begins to transform the reality of his experience by employing the power of a smile in his world. Soon he is teaching others around him on Blue Street, about the power of the smile!

Ibrahim also gives Momo Wise words about what love really is, what happens when we give it and when we don’t. In a scene with Momo and Ibrahim, Momo has just made the painful discovery that his girlfriend dumped him for another boy. He takes it to mean that the other boy was better than him and therefore won her heart.

Momo: There is always a Paulie eating me up inside. (Paulie is a brother that his father always measures him against.)
Ibrahim: It doesn’t matter, your love for her is yours. It belongs to you. She rejects it, but she can’t destroy it. She’s just missing out on it. What you give Momo, is yours for good. What you keep is lost forever.

Momo clearly is shows an openness to Ibrahim’s offering of a new understanding of love. This moment brings to to mind this question.

What’s the difference in a young mind and the mind of someone much older? And what is the significance of that difference on the willingness to consider a new perspective?

One answer is, conditioning! The cumulative effect of memories and the classification of them into good and bad, right and wrong steadily gives an individual the stuff that perspective is made of. As the memories begin to pile up, the tendency to ask simple exploratory questions like why, what or how begins to fade. Have you ever known a young child to drive you crazy with the question why? Ever wondered why they stop? What has happened in the mind to cause the diminishment of wonder?

Eventually the mind is made up about nearly everything it experiences almost in the moment it is experienced. For myself, when I came upon this understanding of the effects of my conditioning, I chose to adopt the following belief.

As I experience things, my conditioning might limit me to only those possibilities represented by the nearest ibrahim1match that my mind can find in it’s memory. Knowing this, I choose to refrain from comparison, and the conclusions it offers, so I may be open to the infinite possibilities, not yet experienced, that are offered in that moment.

ibrahim2I’m curious, do you disagree with this notion? If so, what fragment of your memory, what belief, contradicts it? Does your fragment give you greater power than the power of being open to infinite possibilities? If the answer is yes then I am open to any perspectives and understandings offered that is a key to more effectively saying “yes” to that which I imagine or desire. Your comments are always welcome.

Remember, you are what you watch.