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Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men) (Bilingual)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin
  • Directors: Xavier Beauvois
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Studio: Mongrel Media
  • Release Date: July 5 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004Y18J18
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,837 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

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The monks at the Trappist monastery in Algeria seem almost to exist outside of time, so it may be a while before we recognize the 1990s as the setting for Of Gods and Men. And old traditions cannot escape new warfare in this stirring movie, based on a true story that happened at a remote enclave of peaceful, studious priests. These Christian monks minister to the largely Muslim (and very poor) villagers in their vicinity, a balance that is threatened by Algeria's Civil War. When nearby radical-Islamist insurgents begin killing foreigners, the monks must face a choice. Will they flee to safety--a perfectly rational and understandable decision that will leave the villagers without their only source of health care--or will they stay on, secure in their spiritual calling despite the possibility of abduction or murder? Director Xavier Beauvois makes an absorbing film from this question, and it's not at all difficult to understand why it became an unexpected box-office smash in France (and ended up winning the Cesar award for best film of 2010). The film is beautifully cast, and sometimes Beauvois simply trains his camera on the lined, weathered faces of his priests, as though allowing those lines to tell the story. Heading the cast is Lambert Wilson (of Matrix fame), who leads his men with an almost regal bearing, and veteran actor Michael Lonsdale, who quietly inhabits the role of the physician in the group. The film takes time out for quiet contemplation, as though understanding that the priests' suspenseful situation is only half the story. The wordless climax, which allows the men to be animated by the earthly pleasures of wine and Tchaikovsky, is something of a spiritual journey of acceptance all on its own. It's a moment you'll find very difficult to forget. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By cinesue on Dec 12 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Based on a true event in Algeria in the mid nineties, we see the interruption of everyday life of nine monks who live a quiet, contemplative life in a secluded mountain village of mostly Muslims. The monks help the villagers with medical aid and everyone interacts peacefully, even joining each other in interfaith celebrations.
However, government forces and local Muslim terrorists interfere with the peaceful co-existence.
As viewers we get to see the intensely personal struggle each monk goes through to decide whether to leave or to remain in the face of impending doom. The tense moments are interspersed with scenes of quiet religiousity as the monks perform their daily rituals.
A tense and realistic look at a real-life event.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 22 2012
Format: DVD
Living in a religious community, Trappist monks are renowned for exercising a vow of silence on any matters that do not relate to their practical existence. Idle talk is thought to detract from holy living and daily chores so is greatly discouraged. This film introduces us to a monastic world where this vow or spiritual pledge is going to be significantly tested by circumstances inside and outside the cloister. It is the 1990s and this order of French monks have been serving in Algeria for over a hundred fifty years in the shadows of the Atlas Mountains. They have blended in with the local Muslim community in such a way that they are regarded as friends and brothers. These old men, a remnant of pieds-noirs who did not return to France in the 1960s, have committed their lives to serving God and helping others in need. The filmmaker and actors do a wonderful job in capturing monastic life in all its simplicity of practice and complexity of values. The stark natural features of surrounding countryside and the cultural richness of local village life offer effective settings in which to view this amazing tale of devotion. When a new crisis occurs, in the form of terrorist attacks and killings, in this normal tranquil environment, the Trappists are forced to make a critical decision that amounts to fight or flight. Like other reviewers, I found that special moment in the film happening when the monks celebrated over a meal - in most untrappist-like fashion - their decision to remain true to their vows of service in spite of mounting danger. God has called them to serve even if it means dying a martyr's death.
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By Tommy Dooley HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on March 12 2012
Format: DVD
This moving drama is based on the true events that took place in 1996, when seven French Trappist monks from the monastery of Tibhirine, Algeria were kidnapped from their monastery. This was during the Algerian Civil War and daily atrocities were frequent.

Xavier Bouvois wanted to make a film about the reasons behind the monks deciding to stay. They knew how dire their position was and yet continued to minister to their flock, providing, advice, comfort and medical help. They lived an almost subsistence lifestyle, selling their excess produce at the local market and living life as piously as they could.

When hostilities get closer they have to face up to Islamist extremists and their own cowardice in the face of what could be a certain, horrible, death.

This is a slow burning powerful film, which is beautifully shot and framed. The acting is superb in its understatement especially by Lambert Wilson as Brother Christian and Michael Lonsdale as Luc. It is in essence a film about faith and togetherness, the monks are all supportive of each other and that strength seems to pull them through. Even though they are democratic they have an agreed leader, but still feel at home in questioning him and it is through that process that we get to see more of who these extraordinary men were. It received masses of critical accolades even getting a 92% rating on `Rotten Tomatoes', as well as the more serious Cannes Grand Prix prize.

I was moved by this film and was really left wanting more at the end, but it is only at that point that you realise that the story teller has done his job; the next chapter would be too horrible. Still an excellent piece of cinema that should be a must for lovers of European Cinema.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Hans G. Schulte-albert on May 29 2011
Format: DVD
I heard about this film in Catholic Insight. Then I ordered a copy from the UK.. on Ebay. Cost me $24. I would have bought it here if I had the chance.
The dialogue is fantastic, and it's one of those films that is rather sad, in some ways -- but beautifully filmed and very well acted. I am part German, part Americanski and totally Canadian EH!! -- but I genuinely liked it. I would recommend it to all my friends. It's inspiring and thoughtful. It's nice to see a film that doesn't put down our priests.
The priesthood is a great challenge as a vocation(NOT just a 'job'). The few that misbehave make the headlines. Here are some Trappists who really gave their lives to the service of a little village in Algiers and were ultimately killed by terrorists. I like it too - because it doesn't target Islam, but the terrorists as the bad guys. It's the right perspective too.
Here are some men who gave their lives for their concern for the poor - the downtrodden. They lived their lives heroically and died in a noble manner.
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