Of Gods and Men (film)

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Xavier Beauvois’s Of Gods and Men (2010) tells the true story of several French monks in Algeria who were taken hostage and later murdered by Muslim terrorists.  (It happened in 1996.)  Two of the eight of them escaped.

The monks are very admirable, truly Christian men living among and ministering to the rural Algerian people.  Indeed, they are First World men helping folks–Muslims–living in a Third World area.  If the film has a fault, it is that the monks are practically without fault.  Christians come off looking very good here (although I dislike the abbot’s use of the expression Inshu’Allah [“God willing”]).   Of Gods and Men is not terribly hard on anybody, however:  the Muslims too are usually sympathetic characters.  In some measure even a bloodthirsty Islamist called Ali Fayattia (Farid Larbi) is.

Lambert Wilson provides the abbot, Brother Christian, with intelligence and, like the other French Caucasian actors, a true spiritual dimension, a convincing devoutness.  Beautiful but not lush, the film is visually rich.  

Des Hommes et  Des Dieux is a French picture with English subtitles.