The French movie “Of Gods and Men” (click here for the movie’s Web site) is far and away one of the best Christian-related movies I’ve ever seen. I’ll probably make it required viewing when I take over the world and declare peace on earth, good will to all.
It’s the true story of French monks who were kidnapped and murdered in 1996 in Algeria, where they lived peacefully with Muslim villagers to whom they ministered and provided medical care.
“Of Gods and Men” does have some intense action, but mostly it’s a quiet and unusually pastoral and, in the end, sublime film about the monks and the lives they lived. These were men of enormous Christian integrity who quietly lived out their vows of poverty and struggled and agonized over whether to leave Algeria and abandon the Muslim villagers they served. It was that or stay in that Muslim community they served and face almost certain death. In the end, they stayed and faced death out of their love and devotion to Christ, and out of faithfulness to their callings to remain in solidarity with the villagers.
The movie honors their very Christ-like lives and their devotion and their theology, and their theology was totally steeped in Christology and all about Christ as the Prince of Peace. But the film also honors the integrity of Islam as a peaceful faith tradition, without flinching from the nastiness and reality of misguided Muslim terrorists (and a corrupt government).
The film–which won lots of awards and honors and received almost universally great reviews–has been around almost a year now, since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. But it’s just now showing at Angelicka in Dallas, and I can’t recommend it enough, and not just for Christians but for general audiences who like intelligent movies and good, serious storytelling. It’s a mature and powerful work of film art–and one that ought to be seen now more than ever in a world wracked by so much violence and animus and misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims.