Monday, November 15, 2010

Of Gods and Men

Elizabeth Lev reviews a new film about martyrdom, saying:
For several weeks, billboards have been promoting a new French film, "Des Hommes et des Dieux" (Of Gods and Men) directed by Xavier Beauvois. It had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 and won the Grand Prize, the second most prestigious prize at the film festival. Given that other awardees from Cannes have included "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," a Romanian film about abortion, and Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," this didn't bode well for me.

Furthermore, the top billed actors, Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale seemed like peculiar picks for a film about religion. Lambert Wilson, ex-Calvin Klein model, is best known to Americans as "the Merovingian" in the last two Matrix debacles. Michael Lonsdale played the evil Abbott in "The Name of the Rose" as well as villain Hugo Drax in James Bond's "Moonraker," and was last seen in the anti-Christian film "Agora." The pair appeared to be a recipe for disaster and I thought I would save my time, money and blood pressure by skipping it.

A dear priest friend told me I was mistaken, however, so on All Saints' Day I became one of the ever-growing number of people to see the film. Never was I happier to be proved utterly wrong.

"Of Gods and Men" recounts the true story of seven Trappist monks who were killed in Algeria in 1996, kidnapped and beheaded by unknown assassins. Director Beauvois recounts the story so beautifully that despite the fact that everyone knows the ending, one still remains caught up the events as they unfold. Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale make the film, bringing to life two unforgettable characters.

The film came out during the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, and I saw it the day after the massacre of 46 Christians in Iraq, which brought home the timeliness of the movie. In the West, Christians may be ridiculed or ostracized, but we do not have to face the same witness for our faith that our brethren in other parts of the world do.

View trailer, HERE. Share

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