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
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 »
Should it ever befall me, and it could happen today, to be a victim of the terrorism swallowing up all foreigners here, I would like my community, my church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. That the Unique Master of all life was no stranger to this brutal departure. And that my death is the same as so many other violent ones, consigned to the apathy of oblivion. I've lived enough to know, I am complicit in the evil that, alas, prevails over ...
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I saw this last month at the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It has also won in that same category by the National Board of Review and was France's official submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film although it didn't make the short list. Making its debut at the Cannes Film Festival it went on to win the Grand Prix Award there. This is set in 1996 and is based on the events of a true story that took place during the struggle for power by different Islamic guerrilla groups and the government in Algeria. Caught in the middle are a group of French Roman Catholic Trappist Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance operating the self-sufficient monastery of Tibhiirine in the Algeian highlands and helping the people its nearby village. The monks have been largely left alone by the area guerrilla fighters but when their leader is killed he is replaced by an even more brutal leader and the threat to their existence is imminent. They must decide to stay or go. From writer/director Xavier Beauvois this is a dark film that moves slow in it's two hours. Great cinematography from veteran photographer Caroline Champetier with a beautiful production design by Barthélémy in converting an abandoned monastery in Morroco that hadn't been used in 40 years for the setting. Lambert Wilson leads the ensemble cast as the Christian the leader of the monks with veteran actor Michael Lonsdale as the monastery and village doctor. This film is about 30 minutes to long and too artistically clichéd for my liking. Lots of audiences and critics love it but I would only give it a 7.0 out 10
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