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.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Stayed at the top of the French box office charts for four consecutive weeks. See more »
When Luc leans against the painting, his face and left hand touch it noticeably higher in the close-up than during the preceding shot. See more »
Once they were gone, all we had left to do was live. And the first thing we did was - two hours later - we celebrated the Christmas vigil and mass. It's what we had to do. It's what we did. And we sang the mass. We welcomed that child who was born for us absolutely helpless and already so threatened. Afterwards, we found salvation in undertaking our daily tasks: The kitchen, the garden, the prayers, the bells. Day after day, we had to resist the violence. And day after day, I think each of us ...
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Of Gods and Men (2010) Des hommes et des dieux (original title) directed by Xavier Beauvois, is a powerful drama about good, deeply religious men
trying to live a truly caring, peaceful life under difficult circumstances.
A small group of French monks have lived in a monastery in Algeria for many years. They are clearly different in a cultural sense from the surrounding community. However, their simple life and acts of charity are welcomed and accepted by the Muslims in the adjacent village.
The plot revolves around the threat of death from militants in the region. The Algerian revolution has succeeded in forcing out the French colonial forces. The Algerian government and army officials want the monks to leave and return to France for reasons of safety. The monastery is seen as a remnant of colonialism, and is therefore the target of nationalistic and religious violence. The problem revolves around the questions, "Will the monks stay?" and "What will happen if they do?"
Lambert Wilson plays Christian, the elected leader of the monks. He does an outstanding job of portraying a man who could have succeeded as a leader in almost any undertaking. However, he has chosen monastic life, and now his leadership has become a matter of life and death.
Veteran French actor Michael Lonsdale plays Luc, an elderly physician who can barely walk, but can still heal. The acting is uniformly excellent. In fact, the acting was so good that my wife and I had to remind ourselves that this is a movie, and these men are actors,not monks.
The music, mostly chants sung daily by the monks, was superb.
This is a very powerful film. We saw it at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. If you can't see it in a theater, the movie should work almost as well on DVD.
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