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on 9 September 2017
Impressive film of the Catholic monastic life in hostile surroundings.
Makes one realise the sacrifices and courage of the religious caught up in circumstances which they could do nothing about.
The film's ending is a message to all who cherish the Christian faith and Christian civilization.
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on 11 April 2016
Ever wondered what it would be like to live the life of a Trappist monk in North Africa? This movie successfully recreates the ascetic ideals of monasticism with minimal dialogue and no soundtrack, creating a beautifully simple production that almost entrances the viewer. The overall cast are magnificent and manage to say so much while saying very little. The silence of this movie is striking but particularly effective in drawing in the audience. Overall, an inspiring story of love and self-sacrifice that I would highly recommend!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 March 2012
This moving drama is based on the true events that took place in 1996, when seven French Trappist monks from the monastery of Tibhirine, Algeria were kidnapped from their monastery. This was during the Algerian Civil War and daily atrocities were frequent.

Xavier Bouvois wanted to make a film about the reasons behind the monks deciding to stay. They knew how dire their position was and yet continued to minister to their flock, providing, advice, comfort and medical help. They lived an almost subsistence lifestyle, selling their excess produce at the local market and living life as piously as they could.

When hostilities get closer they have to face up to Islamist extremists and their own cowardice in the face of what could be a certain, horrible, death.

This is a slow burning powerful film, which is beautifully shot and framed. The acting is superb in its understatement especially by Lambert Wilson as Brother Christian and Michael Lonsdale as Luc. It is in essence a film about faith and togetherness, the monks are all supportive of each other and that strength seems to pull them through. Even though they are democratic they have an agreed leader, but still feel at home in questioning him and it is through that process that we get to see more of who these extraordinary men were. It received masses of critical accolades even getting a 92% rating on `Rotten Tomatoes', as well as the more serious Cannes Grand Prix prize.

I was moved by this film and was really left wanting more at the end, but it is only at that point that you realise that the story teller has done his job; the next chapter would be too horrible. Still an excellent piece of cinema that should be a must for lovers of European Cinema.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2011
This is one of those films that stay with you long after you've finished watching it. Slow-paced, beautfully filmed, with very little dialogue, it tells the story of a small community of monks living among and serving an Algerian community. They are accepted in the community, but extremist Muslims are threatening and killing the villagers, and thus the monks too are under threat. They are advised to leave, for their own safety, but after some discussion, decide to stay, facing all the dangers that threaten them. This is a terrible choice for the monks to make, and as the net slowly closes around them, there is both doubt and fear. But they remain true to their faith and to the people they serve, and face the inevitable outcome with fortitude.

This is, above all, a beautiful film; beautiful visually (for example, the wonderful, expressive faces of the old monks), beautiful to listen to (there is some lovely singing) and beautiful in its integrity and serenity. As it's in French, there are subtitles, but for those who find these distracting (I am one of them) this somehow doesn't matter, since the dialogue is kept to a minimum.

Whether or not you enjoy this film, I can guarantee that you will not forget it.
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on 23 February 2014
What I liked: superb cinematography - there is just one fabulous scene after another. The tie-in to a real story highlighting interaction between Christians and Muslims. After watching this for the second time with a friend, we both agreed that this is one movie for which it would be interesting to actually read the script afterward: the film is rich with insightful conversation - between the priests, between the priests and the local people, between the priests and their adversaries (both government officials and the combatant forces). I saw this film for the first time months ago and am still thinking about it, particularly the letter read at the end.
Recommended for: Christians, Muslims, people interested in interfaith issues, agnostics and atheists.
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on 1 June 2017
A lovely film and worth the research into the real monks and their story
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on 21 May 2011
Saw this at the Cornerhouse Cinema, Manchester, and immediately came home and advance ordered it, so I could see it again when the DVD became available.

This is a reconstruction of a real event and the responsibility for the killing of the monks has never been solved. It is a moving and tragic set of events and is very relevant to the present day tensions and the way in which extremism is viewed. It is not mainstream cinema because the subject matter requires people to really focus on what they believe and how they should behave in the world and how their behaviour may be interpreted by others. The characters were all excellently portrayed and the way in which they individually wrestled with their fears was inspirational.

Beautifully filmed, a real gem. The extra features on the DVD are well worth viewing too.
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on 4 January 2014
Brilliantly acted and so well done . It's a very moving and true story of monks who care for those who are far less fourtunate and how thay were murdered and treated by some evil cruel taliban extreemists... A humbling story of true dedicated spiritual and loveing people who died for there religeon and beleifs for all thay wanted to do in life was to help others who were worse off than themslves As I have said very humbling BUY THIS DVD it's well worth it
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on 16 May 2011
I have watched this film four times and have been more moved each time. Although it is based on a true story, therefore with a known ending, this does not detract from the tension building throughout the film with the monks' growing realisation of what was likely to happen. The film is about faith and choice. Each character is very different, so there is a wide range of emotion, doubt, faith and a combination of these. These were not men who wanted to be martyrs.Their simple life and their relationships to each other and their interdependence are shown to be at the root of their faith.
The sound track is worth buying on its own (as I did).Both discourse and singing are wonderful. I particularly liked the words of Christian who, aware of the negative stereotypes held by so many about Muslims, prayed that after his death he would see all his Muslim brothers and sisters through the eyes of a god who loves us all.
There were many memorable scenes. One that stays in my mind is the Last Supper-like meal they had with a rare taste of wine and Swan Lake playing as they ate,joy and awareness of what was coming shown clearly on each face.
I would say that this is the best film I have seen for several years.....and I am a regular film-goer!
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on 25 September 2016
This film is one of the best films I have ever watched. Despite being slow, quiet, with little or no violence, it is one of the most powerful films ever made, which will haunt you unexpectedly. What a film!
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