This film was released 3rd December 2010, and is no longer screening.
A group of French monks in Algeria’s Atlas Mountains find their faith put to the test when the 1990s Islamic terror campaign threatens their remote community in this tense, ultimately moving drama from actor-turned-director Xavier Beauvois. It’s certainly not some pro-Christian tract, since the monks’ immersion in the lives of their North African neighbours allows them an understanding of their common ground with the beliefs of Islam, and no little sadness that the fundamentalists are driven by prejudices alien to the Koran. As the atrocities escalate however, tensions intensify, leaving monastery head Lambert Wilson, kindly old doctor Michel Lonsdale, and their fellow Cistercians to weigh the continuation of their mission against fears for their safety. While the suspense is never less than gripping, what’s most remarkable is how Beauvois conveys the Brothers’ dedication to their fellow man not as some doctrinaire duty, but a spiritual imperative driven by deep humanity. It’s a profoundly affecting vision, and one of the year’s finest films. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).