Of Gods And Men - Des hommes et des dieux
(WINNER Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival, BAFTA nominated - Best Film not in the English Language 2011)
A monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers. When a crew of foreign workers is 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.This film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, from 1993 until their kidnapping in 1996.
Of Gods And Men - Des Hommes Et Des Dieux - Synopsis
In 1996 the kidnapping and murder of the seven French monks of Tibhirine was one of the culminating points of the violence and atrocities in Algeria resulting from the confrontation between the government and extremist terrorist groups that wanted to overthrow it. The disappearance of the monks – caught in a vice between both sides – had a great and long-lasting effect on governments, religious communities and international public opinion. The identity of the murderers and the exact circumstances of the monks’ deaths remain a mystery to this day. The case was taken up by a French court in 2003. Certain documents were recently declassified. In the upcoming months, new revelations may finally bring the truth to light.
Of Gods And Men - Des Hommes Et Des Dieux - About the film
OF GODS & MEN by Xavier Beauvois is loosely based on the Tibhirine tragedy. It explores the last few months in the life of this small community of Christian monks in a "Muslim land". The film is more interested in capturing the spirit of the events and what was at stake in the community than in recounting the exact details of an historical reality. The story begins several weeks before the terrorists issued an ultimatum ordering all foreigners to leave the country. An armed terrorist group even broke into the monastery on Christmas Eve. The monks’ dilemma, dormant until that point, is now clear: stay or leave?
The decision must be made as a group. But for them, the choice of going or staying, despite the threats, is laden with consequences. When they refuse military protection, the government asks them to return to France. Each monk will make his decision by assessing the human, political and religious stakes and by plumbing the depths of his soul and conscience. This dramatic tension accompanies the practical and mystical daily life of the community: their deep ties to the villagers and the spirit of peace and charity with which they try to counter the violence eating away at the country. OF GODS & MEN bears witness to the reality of the monks’ commitment and the strength of the message of peace they wish to share by staying among their Muslim brothers: the possibility of a fraternal and spiritual common ground between Christianity and Islam. The monks called the army "the brothers of the plain" and the terrorists "the brothers of the mountain". Far from naïve, they were aware they were walking a fine line between two sides with ambiguous positions.