Sunday 27 February 2011

A movie émouvant

And from the shallows we swim into deeper waters.  Was very moved recently by the film Of Gods And Men (Des Hommes Et Des Dieux) by Xavier Beauvois. The subject matter (based on a true story) sounds unlikely perhaps: a group of French monks in an Algerian monastery dealing with the increasing threat of terrorist attack, but it was captivating in its depiction of rising tension and emotion as the monks dealt with their dilemma of ”should I stay or should I go?”.  So you know this film’s not going to be some kind of Carry On Up Yer Habit….although it was not without its humour and you do get to hear a monk say “fuck off” (in French).  However, it was a deep and thought-provoking film with an air of serenity about it much of the time in spite of the mood of escalating fear at its core. I was very impressed by its cinematic beauty - striking vistas, strong, expressive close-ups -  very much a visual film, with little dialogue really and an unhurried pace, aesthetically and psychologically satisfying. To me it evoked something of a nouvelle vague film in that way.   Felt quite privileged to see it at its first night of a trial of i-cinema too – according to the blurb at the local theatre: it was played via high-spec servers, live via satellite recorders through high definition projectors.  So basically not your ordinary 35mm film reel but like watching a film on a giant internet screen without the biscuit crumbs in your keyboard.

Michael Lonsdale, who played the monastery’s rather lovely old doctor, Luc, looked somewhat disconcertingly like Peter Blake.  And even more disconcerting is the fact that he had previously played the villain Hugo Drax in Moonraker.  Check out pictures.

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