Saturday, January 22, 2011

Of Gods and Men

Tonight I'm talking aobut the French movie "Des hommes et des dieux".  I saw it last week, and it will definitively stick with me for a long time.  I remember the real story behind this movie.  Living in France at the time, it was impossible not to learn what had happened, because the massacre of the French monks in Morocco made headlines everywhere.  I remember being deeply shocked and sad, that anybody could do such a thing.  Kill innocent, poor and peaceful monks, who lived modestly and in friendship with their muslim neighbors. Yesterday, I got to know their story even better.

Of Gods and Men is not a loud movie, absolutely not.  We meet the eight monks, we follow their everyday life, with prayers, chants, work and shared meals.  One of them, brother Luc, is a doctor, and even though he is old and suffers from asthma, he receives patients every single day, treating them, helping them the best he can, with the monastary's modest supply of medicine.

What touched me the most, was the way these christian monks lived in peace with the villagers.  Not only tolerating each other, but being real neighbors and friends, seeing each others as brothers and sisters, respecting each other.

The tragedy is luring under the surface, and as the movie progresses, I felt the vibrating stress, terror of what was about to happen.  We're spared for the images there.  The movie ends, when, after a last meal in the monastery, they are captured and abducted.

The last meal I mentioned was special without anything big happening.  They're eating, no-one is talking, the music they're listening to is the main theme from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, and the whole thing is soul-gripping.

Directed by Xavier Beauvois, with actors such as Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale and Oliver Rabourdin.  For more information, click here.

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