The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

Follow Us On Instagram!

Humanity in the highest: “Of Gods and Men”

Of Gods and Men is and emotional and sublime must see Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

This ultimate test of faith and morality comes full force upon the collective mind and conscience of a small group of Trappist (Catholic) monks living at a remote monastery in the remote village of Tibhirine, Algeria. This true story is told with respectful tact in director Xavier Beauvois’ 2010 film “Of Gods and Men.”

Set during the Algerian Civil War of the 1990’s, the film retells the tale of the balance, and peaceful coexistence, between a tiny Christian minority (the Trappist monks) and a larger Islamic majority (the villagers in Tibhirine).

Having lived harmoniously among the villagers for decades, violence and chaos suddenly erupt in the village and surrounding country when armed terrorist groups of radical Islamists begin carrying out an all attack on the government, innocent foreigners, and even innocent civilians.

The monks, are forced make what is arguably the most difficult decision of their lives: to flee from the place and people they’ve come to love or stay put despite the strong possibility of death.

The humanity in the story rings through crystal clear, due in large part to the fantastic performances delivered by the monks.

Notably, the parts played by actors Michael Lionsdale (as Christian) and Lambert Wilson (as Luc) stand out as the most sincere and thoroughly believable of the bunch; although almost every character in the film is played with enough skill and grace to make them each stand out on their own merit.

Nothing felt forced, nothing felt false, and everything felt as if you, the viewer, were standing right there alongside the monks themselves.

The screenplay, adapted by screenwriter Etienne Comar from the novel “The Monks of Tibhirine” by John Kiser, creates a sense of time and place for the viewer that drives home the true gravity of the situation at hand. The dialogue, and subsequent moods and tones conveyed by the actors, imparts an attitude of initially reluctant resistance and eventually peaceful acceptance.

The monks of Tibhirine don’t blindly follow their faith, never bothering to question the course of life’s events, they struggle from day to day, hour to hour, and minute to minute trying to decide between a course of action that could either save their lives or potentially sacrifice them for the collective good of the villagers in Tibhirine. This constant questioning of faith is what gives the story, and its characters, their incredible depth of soul and heart.

Beauvois, and cinematographer Caroline Champetier utilize the gorgeous mountainside landscapes of Meknes, Morocco (although the film’s story is set in Algeria) to further relay the bereft beauty in the seemingly unavoidable fate facing the monks. The countryside, monastery, and townspeople all come together to create an alternate reality that seems all too real.

And even in the gloom of what seems like inevitable tragedy, Beauvois manages to push through a small gleam of hope for society as a whole. Among the advancing tide of despair, there lies a shred of good, one that can’t be distinguished by any evil, no matter how strong.

“Of Gods and Men” is a lesson, a powerful one at that, in what it truly means to live your faith and follow in the footsteps of God.

What do you think?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
All The Foothill Dragon Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *