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Des hommes et des dieux 2010
Description: French drama based on the 1996 kidnapping and killing of seven monks in Algeria. A group of Trappist monks reside in the monastery of Tibhirine in Algeria, where they live in harmony with the largely muslim population. When a bloody conflict between Algeria's units and Muslim Jihadi insurgents disrupts the peace, they are forced to consider fleeing the monastery and deserting the villagers they have ministered to. In the face of deadly violence the monks wrestle with their faith and their convictions, eventually deciding to stay and support their neighbours hold the units and the insurgents at bay.
Released: 25 Mar 2011 Director: Xavier Beauvois Writers: Xavier Beauvois (adaptation), Etienne Comar (scenario) Actors: Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin, Philippe Laudenbach Genres: Drama, History
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Des hommes et des dieux Reviews:

As Vivekananda has said, "The intensest love that humanity has ever known has come from religion, and the most diabolical hatred that humanity has known has come from religion." Both of these elements are show in Xavier Beauvois Of Gods and Men, the storyline of seven Roman Catholic French Trappist monks kidnapped by radical Islamists from their monastery in the village of Tibhirine in Algeria during the 1990s Algerian Civil War. The movie depicts the sacrifices folks of nice will in both religions are willing to create for every other, and that the separation between religions is not an unbridgeable gap.Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2010 Cannes Movie Festival, Of Gods and Boys stars Lambert Wilson as Christian, Prior of the monks, and 79-year-old Michael Lonsdale as a globe weary medic who treats up to 150 Moslem villagers every day. The movie derives its game from the Ebook of Psalms, Psalm 82:6-7 quoted at the beginning of the film: "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are kids of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes." Filmed in Morocco, the movie shows the everyday life of the Trappist monks before the terrorist threat becomes real.Though a huge part of their day consists of contemplation and devotion, living in close contact with the Muslim population allows them to interact with them in a positive way, healing the sick, selling honey in the nearby markets, and caring for the aged. In addition, everyday chores such as cooking, gardening, loading wood for the fireplace, and cleaning take up a huge part of the day. Later word gets around about the murder of European workers on a construction website by the terrorists and the monks recoil in horror when they learn about the stabbing of a girl riding on a bus by Islamic fundamentalists simply because she was not wearing a veil.The Algerian government asks the monks to leave for their own security but Christian says them that their calling is to serve the folks of the community and he insists on remaining, though he is willing to allow the another monks decide. The trouble becomes suddenly more instant when a group of fundamentalists present up at the monastery on Christmas Eve demanding medicine for their wounded colleagues. Though the request is refused, Christian quotes the Koran to their spokesman Ali Fayattia (Farid Larbi) and they end up shaking hands, though the Prior senses rightly that they will be back.When all accept that they will not abandon the monastery even at the risk of death, the dramatic high mission of the movie is reached when the monks recreate the Last Supper by sitting around a tiny table drinking wine and listening to a recording of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet. As the camera pans from face to face, we can observe a beatific smile on some faces and tears on others, demonstrating an inner poetry and reverence for life. The monks are not Christian moralists but spiritualists confronting the extremes of the human condition, characters who mission the method to overcoming despair.The monks, like the Curé de Torcy in Bernanos' Diary of a Country Priest, love poverty "with a deep, reasoned, lucid love as equal loves equal", expressing the eternal struggle of the spirit to know Christ and to come to terms with his anguish. The heroes of the movie are not saints. They are flesh and blood human beings, full of ambiguity and fear, but never far from compassion and humility, willing to offer us the chance of a globe transformed by grace.


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' movie isn't so much a farcical acc of the spiralling contradictions of religious extremism. But it does share its preoccupation with exactly how far one, or rather a tiny community, can go to devote themselves to their beliefs.The movie is located in the 1996 Algerian Civil War, and says the real storyline 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 point 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 hard to recall a more delicate, understated study. An perfect example of Beauvois' achievement, both visually and performance-wise, is the kiss Luc territories 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, private 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 boys are nearing the end of their lives. Death is everytime show – from direct representation (as with the brutal throat-slitting of the Croat workers) to the indirect (the technique of cutting from the most tranquil stage to the loudest, most destructive scene).The movie 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 Kids (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 related light to, say, Hidden (Cache, Michael Haneke, 2005), the occupation these boys choose, the service they provided, the sacrifice they made, should too, easy be forgotten. So while the terrorism fears, today shared globally, are a focal point, a narrative of this type reminds one not to forget the horrors of the past.Of Gods and Boys is testament to a thriving Fresh French Cinema. Thought-provoking, rich in content both (formally and thematically), it's hard to search fault with a movie that so meticulously justifies its choices: the landscape is artwork, the tone is perfect, and the performances are achingly affective throughout.


This movie appealed to me in few ways. I liked the direct, intimate approach in the method it was filmed. It was very refreshing to see hymns used as a large part of the soundtrack, very various as to what you usually hear :) In the cinema where i was watching the film, the average age gotta have been a lot higher than usual, and a several seats away, someone was even quietly singing along with some of the hymns, very bizarre feeling in a cinema!! I liked the fact that they treated the topics of faith and the chance of coexistence of Christianity and Islam, as well as the differences, in a very simple, every-day-life-way. What was fresh to me was the visualization of fraternity. This aspect was a large thing throughout the entire movie. It is one of the things i least understood about priests and monks until now. It was nice to see this feeling i have never personally experienced come alive on the screen and sort of being able to feel it myself. I also liked that they used 'real' folks and not cute Hollywood types, but i suppose that is normal in a production like this. I liked that a lot was left unspoken, unexplained and launch for different interpretations.The scenes i liked greatest was the one where: *the abbot was at a lake to search inspiration for his tough decision. *the 'last supper' with the close-ups of the monks' faces and the ballet melody *the terrorist and the abbot talk about the birth of Jesus *the ending (usually i don't like abrupt and vague endings like these, but in this movie it was bearable and befitting, because in true life it is also still unknown what exactly has happened).



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