A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Of Gods and Men
In the mid 90s, a group of French Catholic monks reside among a local Muslim community in Algeria. The film follows them as they engage in their day to day activities of prayer, mass, attending the needs of the villagers, and making and selling honey at the local market among other duties. They live peacefully with their differently oriented neighbors and are content with their regimented lives. Then one day word reaches the monastery that several missionaries have been slain by a group of Islamic fundamentalists and now fear has begun to spread. The monks now question whether should they should remain at their post with their lives being in danger. Each has a different response to the situation and some even begin to question their own faith as a palatable danger hangs over their heads. Of Gods and Men is based on true story which is simultaneously sad and shocking when it becomes apparent in the latter stages of the film, shocking because it seems to be an examination of a monk's lifestyle. The film is the work of Xavier Beauvios, and is an export of France, which it almost has to be because no U.S. producer would ever back a film that treats the Catholic faith and clergy so reverently. The film is solemn, beautiful, and meticulously structured capturing wonderful exterior shots as well as carefully constructed shots inside the monastery. Of Gods and Men is engaging and refreshing in its portrayal of the resolute men who held the courage of their convictions.