Film review: ‘Of Gods and Men’
Wed, Apr 13, 2011 (6:51 p.m.)
In France, Of Gods and Men has been a huge hit, topping the box office and winning several awards at the French equivalent of the Oscars. It goes to show how much French cinema differs from its American counterpart, because a movie this painstaking, somber and quiet would never be a hit in the U.S. That’s too bad, because Gods is a fascinating and affecting look at a true story about seven French Trappist monks killed by terrorists in Algeria in 1996. Director and co-writer Xavier Beauvois patiently lays out the religious ceremonies and daily tasks of the monks, showing their interactions with local villagers as well as their individual crises of conscience, so that they come off as more than mere representatives of a political or historical situation. The monks’ actions were symbolic, but the movie shows how they were also conflicted and deeply personal.