French actor Xavier Beauvois directs this true-life tale of a group of French Trappist monks voluntarily stationed in a convent in an impoverished community in Algeria. When an Islamic fundamentalist group starts to cause trouble in the area, the monks are forced to decide whether or not they should flee for safer havens. Beauvois’ slow, meditative pacing suitably complements this simple though moving story of faith in the face of human suffering. A great deal of time is spent on the monks’ daily rituals, both spiritual and community-based, and while they each have their own unique traits they are obviously functioning as a single unit in the name of their faith. A remarkably inspiring film despite its inevitable finale.
Of Gods and Men opens today at the Ritz Five and Ritz at the Bourse.