How can you do a review about a film with a story that deals with faith and religion? Very carefully as we all know that faith and religion are passions, consequently tend to be blind. Xavier Beauvois film tells the fictionalized true-story of the last days of a group of Cistercian monks of the Atlas Mountains who died in Algeria in 1996. It’s a slow paced film and story that shows how the French monks peacefully cohabit with the people of a small Muslim village. Everything was perfect until civil war explodes in Algeria. They are afraid, Algerian government asks them to leave but they know –as well as the villagers-that what has been “saving” the village from attacks is their presence, so they feel the need to stay at the monastery whilst to comply with their vows and to fulfill they life as human beings in the service of peace and God.
From the moment I saw scenes from the film I was preoccupied with the subject matter as like I have mentioned before, religion left my life a very long time ago. My concern was right as I had a hard time watching perfection (leading to martyrdom) in the religion portrayed in the movie and the same will happen to me with any other religion. Consequently, it’s important that I restrain myself from telling more about the story.
Nevertheless the most interesting thing happened while story evolved; I couldn’t take my eyes from the screen and kept on watching up to the point that I “needed” to continue watching no matter what I was seeing and the obvious message. Why? As a movie is almost perfect!
Fascinating and compelling actors performances, extraordinary indoor and outdoor cinematography, absolutely great to listen (without paying attention to what words are saying) hymns, great tech specs, and a director that has absolutely grown as a filmmaker. Very good film with a story that probably many will like, many will be able to watch objectively and others will not like.
It’s impossible that I don’t highly recommend the Grand Prix 2010 Cannes winner as is an excellent movie that is must be seen for many that enjoy great European cinema and know that many have and will watch this excellent film. My only hope is that many of you enjoy or at least see the story objectively. I couldn’t.
Watch trailer @MOC