Of gods and men

Of gods and men

Des hommes et des dieux

Blu-ray Disc - 2011 | French
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Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990's. When a crew of foreign workers are massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay, come what may.
Publisher: [United States] : Mongrel Media, 2011
Branch Call Number: WORLD OFG
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (122 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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An absolutely gripping movie. Tension throughout: will the Muslim fanatics in Algeria's islamist vs. secularist civil war capture these harmless monks or not? Spoiler alert: the worst happens!! Extremely sad portrayal of innocent men who become collateral damage in a war that is not of their making. Nine French Christian monks live in a monastery in the Atlas mountains of Algeria, independent from France since 1962. An islamist party has won the recent national elections, but the government, backed by France, has refused to recognize the result. Civil war has broken out, with horrific atrocities committed by both sides. The monks do not seek martyrdom, but are reluctant to abandon the nearby villagers, who rely on them for medical help, food, and employment. Incredibly convincing acting by a stellar cast of French and Arab actors, especially Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale (yes, they are French!)

Apr 30, 2014

An excellent film! No wonder it won the Grand Prix Award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

hania4987 Feb 02, 2014

an absolutely incredible movie about faith and community. It's shot in a documentary style and focuses on the monastery of Cistercian monks living in northern Algeria. It was very interesting that they were presented (without the typical cynicism against faith or spirituality) as real people with a calling and commitment. There were many powerful scenes in this very quiet movie, but my favorite one is the one in which two of the monks are conferring with some of their Muslim neighbors. The monks are trying to decide whether to stay once the terrorists start their campaign. The monks say they are like birds on a branch not knowing whether they were coming or going. The villagers tell them that "you are the branch and we are the birds" who look to the monks for their foundation. A must-see movie.

Jan 29, 2012

A very good, deeply moving (albeit slowly-paced), powerful film about real-life events in the mid-1990s, during the Algerian Civil War. Beautiful indoor and exterior (Morocco substitutes for Algeria) cinematography. // When hostilities threatened, these Trappist monks were forced to grapple with their convictions and choose whether to leave the country or stay. Their decisions to stay ultimately led to the abduction and death of all but two (who managed to hide and escape capture). // The film is based largely on the 2002 book (The monks of Tibhirine) by John Kiser; the voice-over near the end of the film (when the hostages are together in a room) is based on writings by Father de Cherge which were found, at the monastery, after his abduction. // Although the hostages died in captivity, there has been speculation that the Algerian military may have been involved (accidentally or intentionally) in their demise -- which had initially been attributed to murder by their captors.

Jan 16, 2012

A very beautiful and genuine movie. The slow pace of the movie echoes the contemplative world of the monastery.

Dec 29, 2011

This film was alright, though I don't see what the fuss was about. Some touching scenes, but a lot of wasted time and opportunities, as well.

voisjoe1 Dec 04, 2011

The story of peaceful French monks living in Algeria in the latter part of the 20th century. Their lives are threatened by conflict between moderate and fundamentalist Muslims. When Croatians are slaughtered by the fundamentalists, the monks must decide if they should continue to live there or flee for their safety.

A meditation on the meaning and value of life and survival, of courage, and of faith in God, etc.

EuSei Jul 27, 2011

These monks were not "Christian" merely, but more correctly Catholic monks--i.e., Roman Catholic Church. This is a slow movie, with a few beautiful scenes. I am very partial to religious choirs, so I loved the monks singing. The last screen states that the monks' end is a mystery. There might be speculation about their end—none ever returned from captivity to tell what happened—but since they were taken from the monastery by terrorists, it is not illogical to believe they were killed.

Kirbs Jul 22, 2011

Stark. Dark. Sublime. Beauteous. Pitch-perfect.

Jul 18, 2011

Thoughtful, Beautiful in the genre of "Into Great Silence". This story won't interest many, but for those who wish to view a story of universal Love, Faith and Conviction in challenging times this will be a treat.

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