Des Dieux Et Des Hommes – ***1/2

Posted: October 3, 2010 in Drama, France, XXX1/2
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Seen at UGC Antwerp

A winner at the Cannes film festival. Rave reviews in the magazines. It’s not always a guarantee, but this time it is! What an amazing movie. The plot line may look like a bore and keep the crowds away, but if you go see this movie, you’ll be happy someone recommended it.

I knew very little about the movie. Only that it dealt with monks who lived in an Algerian mountain town and got confronted with muslim extremism. Nothing more. I advice not to know more about the movie either and just go and enjoy. I had no idea the movie was based on true events. So I absolutely did not know how the movie would end. And that ignorance added to the excitement.

There are some amazing scenes in this movie. My favorite one is the moment where the monks are singing a Gregorian chant as a helicopter is hovering over their monastery. The reoccurrence of the Gregorian chants is a bit tedious, but just as you think ‘oh no, no more singing please’, it flows into an incredibly powerful and positive image of faith and camaraderie. There you have a group of men who live together in a hostile environment and they find faith in each other (besides having faith in God). The presence of faith may scare people away from this movie, but it’s so well done and so realistically told that you cannot but appreciate these men’s courage. You feel with each of the monks. They each have different doubts. And you believe them all. The actors ARE monks. This is by far the best ensemble cast ever. All of the monks are so well portrayed. And that’s not just because they act it well. It’s also because director Xavier Beauvois tells the story the best way possible. With little dialogue, but with amazing shots. The one scene where the camera jumps from one monk to the other and always zooms in closer to see their expressions of doubt is amazing.

Honestly, this is maybe the best movie of the year.

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