Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Of Gods and Men

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Of Gods and Men

Article excerpt

OF GODS AND MEN

Directed by Xavier Beauvois (Why Not Productions, 2011)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

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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