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Des hommes et des dieux (2010)

PG-13 | | Drama, History | 25 March 2011 (USA)
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ON DISC
Under threat by fundamentalist terrorists, a group of Trappist monks stationed with an impoverished Algerian community must decide whether to leave or stay.

Director:

Xavier Beauvois

Writers:

Xavier Beauvois (adaptation), Etienne Comar (scenario)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lambert Wilson ... Christian
Michael Lonsdale ... Luc
Olivier Rabourdin ... Christophe
Philippe Laudenbach ... Célestin
Jacques Herlin ... Amédée
Loïc Pichon Loïc Pichon ... Jean-Pierre
Xavier Maly ... Michel
Jean-Marie Frin Jean-Marie Frin ... Paul
Abdelhafid Metalsi Abdelhafid Metalsi ... Nouredine
Sabrina Ouazani ... Rabbia
Abdellah Moundy Abdellah Moundy ... Omar (as Abdallah Moundy)
Olivier Perrier Olivier Perrier ... Bruno
Farid Larbi Farid Larbi ... Ali Fayattia
Adel Bencherif ... Le terroriste
Benaïssa Ahaouari Benaïssa Ahaouari ... Sidi Larbi
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In the face of terror, their greatest weapon was faith.

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a momentary scene of startling wartime violence, some disturbing images and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | Arabic

Release Date:

25 March 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De dioses y hombres See more »

Filming Locations:

Morocco See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$308,895, 27 February 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,954,651
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Christian: 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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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2010 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Seigneur, Ouvre Mes Lèvres
Written by Joseph Gelineau
(c) Tous droits réservés
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User Reviews

 
Subtle, tender, and honest
10 February 2011 | by jimharvey87See all my reviews

Chris Morris's debut Four Lions (2010) found fame in it's irreverent portrayal of Islamic fundamentalism in Yorkshire: the headlines that accompanied Brass Eye (1997-2001) successfully carried on into a low-key marketing campaign in that debut feature. Beauvois' film isn't so much a farcical account of the spiralling contradictions of religious extremism. But it does share its preoccupation with exactly how far one, or rather a small community, can go to devote themselves to their beliefs.

The film is located in the 1996 Algerian Civil War, and tells the true story of a monastery under threat from the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA). Dom. Christian (Lambert Wilson) takes it upon himself to express their intentions to ignore the threats, and continue their mission of goodwill. This is disputed by the group throughout, whose dilemma forces some of them to question their allegiance to God, and jeopardise their own health (as with the outstanding Michael Lonsdale's, Luc). Coping with the sacrifices involved in such an all-consuming faith is key to the themes here ("We're not here for martyrdom" reminds Christian), and it's difficult to recall a more delicate, understated study. An excellent example of Beauvois' achievement, both visually and performance-wise, is the kiss Luc places on the mural of Christ. Moments like this underline the dependency they all share on one thing alone: their religion. It looms over them, both haunting and cradling them throughout, like the vast, unspoiled skylines which constantly diminish them beneath - Caroline Champetier's cinematography is key to the affect created.

Tranquil moments like Luc's, where the viewer is allowed in such close, personal space, are almost unsettling in the access that's granted. The beauty achieved in these meditative scenes is all the more striking as we're reminded that these men are nearing the end of their lives. Death is always present – from direct representation (as with the brutal throat-slitting of the Croat workers) to the indirect (the technique of cutting from the most tranquil scene to the loudest, most destructive scene).

The film is an anti-thriller in its treatment of fear and terror - the key moment occurs before the half-way point, and the viewer is left fearing for a reprisal for the duration. Beauvois' alternative narrative, featuring a fairly clear split down the middle, also featured in his previous Don't Forget You're Going to Die (1995) and To Mathieu (2000). Similarly, more recently, Mia Hansen-Love's Father of My Children (2010) involved a number of characters picking up the pieces in the wake of death. French colonialism in Algeria is only once directly attacked, when the police chief demands they leave. However, when viewed in a similar light to, say, Hidden (Cache, Michael Haneke, 2005), the occupation these men choose, the service they provided, the sacrifice they made, could too, easily be forgotten. So while the terrorism fears, today shared globally, are a focal point, a narrative of this kind reminds one not to forget the horrors of the past.

Of Gods and Men is testament to a thriving New French Cinema. Thought-provoking, rich in content both (formally and thematically), it's difficult to find fault with a film that so meticulously justifies its choices: the landscape is artwork, the tone is perfect, and the performances are achingly affective throughout.


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