Of Gods and Men (2010)


Of Gods and Men – Xavier Beauvois

Des hommes et des dieux (original title)

Summary:  Eight French monks live a basic life in a monastery situated in rural Algeria.  The monks grow most of their own crops and provide medical care for the heavily Muslim community that surrounds them.  The film mostly shows their day-to-day chores and religious rituals before a group of foreign workers are massacred by a Islamist fundamental group nearby.  The terror slowly spreads all over Algeria, inciting fear amongst the villagers and monks causing army intervention.  The monks are too offered army protection which they refuse because they feel it could imbalance the harmony in which they live with the villagers.  Despite this, the community is soon to diminish with the monks having to face the decision whether to stay or leave and return to France, a decision heavily impacted on the hostile situation around them.

My review: ‘Of Gods and Men’ can feel like a long watch at times, being just over 2 hours long, it contains long scenes of worship; yet the film is still very poignant drawing towards the end with the most endearing character brother Amédée (played by Jacques Herlin).  Whilst I have put the film in my ‘religion’ category it tells more of different religions living together which is not often portrayed in film, instead of being about religion and it’s meaning itself.  The film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, from 1993 to 1996.

Rating: 2.5/5

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