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OF GODS AND MEN
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin, Philippe Laudenbach, Jacques Herlin, Loïc Pichon, Xavier Maly, Jean-Marie Frin, Abdelhafid Metalsi, Sabrina Ouazani, Abdallah Moundy, Olivier Perrier, Farid Larbi, Adel Bencherif
Director: Xavier Beauvois
Language: French (English subtitles)
USA: 120 mins
UK: 121 mins
USA Rated: R for a scene of graphic violence
UK Certificate: 15 contains infrequent strong violence
USA Release Date: 25 February 2011 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 3 December 2010
Xavier Beauvois' powerful and moving OF GODS AND MEN, based on a true story, explores the last few months in the life of a small community of Christian monks in a "Muslim land", caught in the middle of a conflict between a government and the extremist terrorist groups that wanted to overthrow it.
The kidnapping and murder of seven French monks of Tibhirine in 1996 was one of the culminating points of the violence and atrocities in Algeria. The identity of the murderers and the exact circumstances of the monks' deaths remain a mystery to this day. Their disappearance had a great and long-lasting effect on governments, religious communities and international public opinion.
OF GODS AND MEN captures the spirit of events leading up to the monks' kidnapping. Under threat from terrorists, offered military protection by the local government, and finally urged to leave the country by the French government, the monks are forced to assess the human, political and religious stakes of their decision: leave for their own safety, or stay and honour their deep ties to the villagers and the spirit of peace, charity and dignity with which they try to counter the violence eating away at the country. OF GODS AND MEN bears witness to the reality of the monks' commitment and the strength of the message of peace they wish to share by staying among their Muslim brothers: the possibility of a fraternal and spiritual common ground between Christianity and Islam.
Winner - Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival 2010.