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1.164 Note

Of Gods and Men

Des hommes et des dieux

Regizat de Xavier Beauvois
Franța, 2010


In a monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s, eight French Christian monks live in peace with their Muslim brothers. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. Should the monks stay or leave?

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Of Gods and Men Regizat de Xavier Beauvois
The film’s final message of pluralism and empathy is forceful and direct, but the narrative also contains subtler ironies and troubling questions—about martyrdom, complicity, and unintended consequences—that it knows better than to try to answer. In the end, Of Gods and Men is a film about how you cannot live outside of history or pass through it unaffected.
September 29, 2012
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This tale of a group of Christian monks harassed and eventually executed by Islamic extremists not only manages to get the politics of both sides straight, it also wades headfirst into the spiritual questions, rendering all of this remarkably thorny stuff with considerable aplomb. Also like Bresson on occasion, Beauvois knows he’s making a thriller and understands real ratcheted-up movie tension need not demolish a finely wrought intellectual superstructure.
January 01, 2012
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…Regardless of [Beauvois’] high-minded intentions, OF GODS AND MEN succeeds at more basic levels—in its portrayals of procedure rather than “good works,” ritual rather than faith (especially in how the monks’ services and singing relate to their everyday experiences), and characters rather than ideas. A failure that is also, in its own way, a resounding victory.
March 11, 2011
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