Sunday, 17 April 2011

See this film

I've just come in from watching the film "Of Gods and Men" over at St Brigid's Hall. It's strong stuff, telling the story of seven monks at a monastery in Algeria in the 1990s, caught up in fighting between terrorists and government forces. It won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Fim Festival last year, and I can see why. The story is told slowly, building up our understanding of what it's like in a Cistercian monastery, and how well the monks related to the local inhabitants.
The acting is superb - several people said they thought it was real monks acting! There is no background music for a change, and the cinematography and editing is brilliant. Some moments will stay with me for a long time, I think. The monks together in the chapel when they expect to die any moment; their agonising over whether to go or stay; one monk's clinging to a painting of the suffering Christ for strength and help; their final ascent into the unknown; and above all their last supper together, with the music of "Swan Lake" on the cassette recorder, some good cheese, and a glass of red wine. Absolutely magnificent. Fr M can't approve enough.

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