Von Menschen und Göttern (2010)

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Von Menschen und Göttern: Directed by Xavier Beauvois. With Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin, Philippe Laudenbach. Under threat by fundamentalist terrorists, a group of Trappist monks stationed with an impoverished Algerian community must decide whether to leave or stay.

“I saw this last month at the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It has also won in that same category by the National Board of Review and was Franceu0026#39;s official submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film although it didnu0026#39;t make the short list. Making its debut at the Cannes Film Festival it went on to win the Grand Prix Award there. This is set in 1996 and is based on the events of a true story that took place during the struggle for power by different Islamic guerrilla groups and the government in Algeria. Caught in the middle are a group of French Roman Catholic Trappist Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance operating the self-sufficient monastery of Tibhiirine in the Algeian highlands and helping the people its nearby village. The monks have been largely left alone by the area guerrilla fighters but when their leader is killed he is replaced by an even more brutal leader and the threat to their existence is imminent. They must decide to stay or go. From writer/director Xavier Beauvois this is a dark film that moves slow in itu0026#39;s two hours. Great cinematography from veteran photographer Caroline Champetier with a beautiful production design by Barthélémy in converting an abandoned monastery in Morroco that hadnu0026#39;t been used in 40 years for the setting. Lambert Wilson leads the ensemble cast as the Christian the leader of the monks with veteran actor Michael Lonsdale as the monastery and village doctor. This film is about 30 minutes to long and too artistically clichéd for my liking. Lots of audiences and critics love it but I would only give it a 7.0 out 10”


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