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Of Gods and Men

 

Year: 2010 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Xavier Beauvois 
Starring: Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin  
An image from Of Gods and Men
Review:

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and of both the Lumière Award and the César Award for Best Film, Xavier Beauvois’s critically acclaimed film is largely based upon the monastery of Tibhirine. Nine Trappist monks lived in harmony with the largely Muslim population of Algeria, until seven of them were abducted in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War by the GIA (Armed Islamic Group).

The narrative largely focuses on the peace between the Christian monks and local Muslims, demonstrating how the situation became lethal due to external forces of fundamentalist violence. Although the film focuses on the daily lives of the monks, it raises issues around the crumbling of the government, the growth of terrorism and the confrontations between the monks and the authorities in the time running up to their deaths.

The film was largely shot in documentary style, with the principal photography taking place in Morocco at a desolate and abandoned monastery. The cinematography is beautiful, with a remarkable attention to authenticity. The performances by the actors are equally flawless and touching.

Of Gods and Men is a beautifully deep and thought-provoking film, raising universal issues through a highly topical narrative through the demise of the Cistercian brotherhood to the jihadist uprising of 1996. It’s an engaging and touching film that is certainly worth a watch.

Fionna McLauchlan

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Autumn Term (digital)