Review of Film "Of Men and Gods" (Des hommes et des Dieux) by Noel (Finglas)

On the recommendation of a friend I went to see "Of Men and Gods" (Des hommes et des dieux) recently.  Normally I would be reluctant to go to see a foreign language film but I have to say that I am glad I went to this one.

The film tells the story of a group of Cistercian monks who were murdered in Algeria a number of years ago.  It is a true story and it is a sad story but this film manages to deal with the whole episode in a striking and challenging manner.

The stark simplicity of the Cistercian way of life, the no-frills prayer, the integration of the community with the wider Muslim community come across very strongly and create an air of palpable spirituality.  This is contrasted with the violence of the world in which they are living (Algeria was, at this time, immersed in political turmoil which was manifested by what can only be called civil war conditions).

This is an extraordinary film but not one to be watched on your own - this is a film that deserves to be discussed and, in fact, probably needs to be discussed after you have seen it.  Relatively little happens during the film but the tale is told with such intensity that it would be extremely difficult to remain indifferent to it.

The film is in French with english subtitles but don't let that put you off as the subtitles really don't interfere (there is not a lot of dialogue and subtitles are very clear).

I saw this film in the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin where it had a brief run.  I don't expect that it will be on general release but am sure that it will be available on DVD or through the internet.

Out of ten I give this one an eight.


Article posted on 29th of January 2011