Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Film Everyone Should See

The film is called Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men), on at the Lighthouse cinema, Smithfield. It has been running for a few weeks and will run for next week at least, though when I was there last Sunday, there were lots of empty seats, a sign surely that it will end its run soon.

It is about the killing of seven Cistercian/Trappist monks of the monastery of Tibhirine, south of Algiers in Algeria, in March 1996. They were abducted one night by a band of militants whose exact identity has never been determined (whether Islamic militants or soldiers of the Algerian army). Two monks escaped the round-up as they were in another part of the monastery. The heads of the seven monks were later found but not their bodies.

Such an event, naturally, caused uproar especially in France and much has been written about it. You can get an idea on Google/Wikipedia.

It is a film that everyone should see. There is so much in it about a whole range of topics: monastic/missionary life, other religions and cultures, 'dying for the faith', commitment and the decision to stay to the end, the exploration of life's meaning and purpose and, throughout all, the beauty of the French language, religious language in particular.

I notice that the film carries a 15A certificate. I just cannot see how it needs such a cautionary advice-note. This prompted me to visit the site of the Irish censor at Such a cert indicates that the film is suitable for those aged 15 or over and also for those under 15 accompanied by an adult. I feel it is a film that would be of great interest to any young person of today, and far far above the quality of the religious films of my own day (e.g. The Ten Commandments, Exodus, even Ben Hur).

A film, then, highly recommended for people of all ages, young and old. I rang a 90+ year-old friend of mine suggesting we go and see it, but she had already seen it! Agreed, she had been a teacher of French.

Each person will take away their own lasting impressions. To crown it all, we have the comfort and facilities of the cinema itself: the seats and the wonderful acoustics that allow us to follow every word of, say, a community meeting round a table to discern whether they should go or stay, or every word of a beautiful Christmas hymn.

Donal, WebSec.

Again, please feel free to comment. Did you enjoy the film as much as I did?

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