In 1996, in Algeria, eight French monks of The Monastery Notre-Dame de l'Atlas of Tibhirine have a simple life serving the poor community that was raised around the monastery. During the Algerian Civil War, they are threatened by terrorists but they decide to stay in the country and not return to France.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When the film was released in the United Kingdom, it was only shown in 16 cinemas. Nevertheless it still managed to crack the top 15 films of the week. See more »
When Luc leans against the painting, his face and left hand touch it noticeably higher in the close-up than during the preceding shot. See more »
Once they were gone, all we had left to do was live. And the first thing we did was - two hours later - we celebrated the Christmas vigil and mass. It's what we had to do. It's what we did. And we sang the mass. We welcomed that child who was born for us absolutely helpless and already so threatened. Afterwards, we found salvation in undertaking our daily tasks: The kitchen, the garden, the prayers, the bells. Day after day, we had to resist the violence. And day after day, I think each of us ...
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French monks in a catholic monastery Algeria have to decide whether to stay or go back to France.
This film appealed to me in several ways. I liked the direct, intimate approach in the way it was filmed. It was very refreshing to see hymns used as a big part of the soundtrack, very different as to what you usually hear :)
In the cinema where i was watching the film, the average age must have been a lot higher than usual, and a few seats away, someone was even quietly singing along with some of the hymns, very bizarre feeling in a cinema!!
I liked the fact that they treated the subject of faith and the possibility of coexistence of Christianity and Islam, as well as the differences, in a very simple, every-day-life-way.
What was new to me was the visualization of fraternity. This aspect was a big thing throughout the whole movie. It is one of the things i least understood about priests and monks until now. It was amazing to see this feeling i have never personally experienced come alive on the screen and sort of being able to feel it myself.
I also liked that they used 'real' people and not pretty Hollywood types, but i suppose that is normal in a production like this.
I liked that a lot was left unspoken, unexplained and open for various interpretations.
The scenes i liked best was the one where: *the abbot was at a lake to find inspiration for his tough decision. *the 'last supper' with the close-ups of the monks' faces and the ballet music *the terrorist and the abbot talk about the birth of Jesus *the ending (usually i don't like abrupt and vague endings like these, but in this film it was bearable and befitting, because in real life it is also still unknown what exactly has happened).
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