Benoit (Xavier Beauvois) has planned out his life. Unfortunately he has forgotten the military duty. After he is called to duty he tries everything to get around. He goes to a psychiatrist ... See full summary »
Present-day Chad. Adam, fifty-five, a former swimming champion, is pool attendant at a smart N'Djamena hotel. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up ... See full summary »
The Cowboys are lured from Mexico to Coney Island by their former manager who disappeared at the end of Leningrad Cowboys Go America. He believes he is the reincarnation of Moses, sent to lead them back to the promised land - Siberia.
Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik are father and son as well as rival professors in Talmudic Studies. When both men learn that Eliezer will be lauded for his work, their complicated relationship reaches a new peak.
Matthieu and Eric are two brothers who work at the same factory as their father in Normandy. When his father is dismissed for smoking on the factory floor, Matthieu is incensed and tries to have him reinstated, in vain. His brother has just got married and, with a child and mortgage on the way, is reluctant to stir up trouble. Likewise, Matthieu's fellow workers refuse to get involved. Then ... See full summary »
In 1996, in Algeria, eight French monks of The Monastery Notre-Dame de l'Atlas of Tibhirine have a simple life serving the poor community that was raised around the monastery. During the Algerian Civil War, they are threatened by terrorists but they decide to stay in the country and not return to France. One night, the extremists break in the monastery and abduct seven monks. A couple of months later, they are found dead in controversial circumstances. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The official French submission for the Foreign Language Film Award at the 83rd Academy Awards. See more »
We are martyrs out of love, out of fidelity. If death overtake us, despite ourselves, because up to the end, up to the end we'll try to avoid it. Our mission here is to be brothers to all. Remember that love is eternal hope. Love endures everything.
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Painterly film exploring the purpose and power of faith
I liked the control of this film's ambiguities. At first I thought it was set in France. Then, perhaps, a Balkan country. Only later does the film reveals itself but not before one has confronted several assumptions about the rightness or wrongness of there being a monastic order at the centre of a largely Muslim community.
During the film the seven monks are obliged to consider their practical role, their higher purpose and their own strengths as men, individually and collectively. We are told next to nothing of their back story and must work from their characters as revealed in the situations in which they find themselves - tending the sick, and facing the political and physical threat of the internecine attrition of local Muslim factions.
The performances operated along an axis that has the sage, worldly but ageing Michael Lonsdale (Luc) at one end and Lambert Wilson at the other, giving a career-watershed performance as Christian, the youthful, scholarly, faith-secure leader of the group. The film's ascetic design affords ample opportunity for beautifully composed shots that recall late 17th century Italian church allegories or the martyrdom-piety of Carl Dreyer's Joan of Arc. This is particularly the case in a memorable, exquisitely filmed Antonioni-like extended- denouement sequence which scrutinises the group as they eat supper after making the key decision of the film.
In addition to the performances of Lonsdale (creating a character on a continued trajectory from the worldly-compassionate servitude shown in Frankenheimer's Ronin) and the excellent Wilson, I admired director Xavier Beauvois' restraint in not laying on the piety too heavy and in pitching the pragmatism of the self-sufficient monks just right. The film doesn't preach. If anything, in its austerity it can seem a little remote for a Western audience. Still, the cold and hardship, like much else in the film, rings true. 7/10
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