Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Of Gods and Men

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Of Gods and Men

Article excerpt


Directed by Xavier Beauvois (Why Not Productions, 2011)


Accepting an award for his film, the French director of Of Gods and Men said, 'I don't want people to say bad things about Muslims in [France's] upcoming electoral campaign. I want us to be together with them-that's the lesson of this film."

The movie--based on the true story of French Trappist monks murdered in Algeria in 1996 despite being warned to flee before Islamist militants' violence caught up with them--shows the monks woven into the fabric of their Muslim town, attending family celebrations and running a clinic for villagers.

When violence against foreigners erupts, the government tries to force them to leave. The prior refuses, but the monks are definitely not of one mind: "I didn't come here to commit collective suicide" says one. "The Good Shepherd does not abandon his flock to the wolves," says another. They agree to wait for a while. Meanwhile, the monks spend hours each day chanting in their small chapel, words you realize cannot but work on their souls: "Let us turn to the Man of Sorrows who beckons from the cross. …

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