We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I'm not going to even try to delve into the actual history within which this film takes place nor the religious context. That's flavor, but the meat is simply one of the most powerful films I've seen about how men think, wrestle, reach decision, come together in the face of life and death and moreso in the face of their meaning on earth.
I'd missed this movie last year so I went to see a showing at the local community college. For two hours, the audience was entirely silent, barely a stirring, and left the theater quietly and deep in individual thoughts.
I doubt this movie could have been made in Hollywood. Hollywood's films exalt the rebel against the establishment, standing against the group, and with little respect for traditional values. This French film exhibits the importance of community, of spirit, and how very individual men bravely reach common agreement about their mission.
The film takes place in the Algerian mountains in the mid-1990s. It just as well takes place within all our communities. The choices we make may not be as immediately fearful but are just as dire for our standing before Gods and Men.
At least, that's my take. If you've seen this movie, I'd be interested in your Comments.
NOTE Update: A friend who is very knowledgeable Catholic priest tells me that this order portrayed in the film are not as pacifist as the script, so the screenwriter likely imposed some of his own characterization of how he thinks Catholic monks think and behave. The actors chosen to portray the characters, he feels, do an excellent job.
--i second that --great reviews all around. Must see.
Steve, thanks a bunch for bailing me out of that 50-some odd comment Last Tango in Paralysis back down thread a ways. I couldn't stop myself until someone opened the door and said what the hell are you two doing. What we were doing by then was, i was repeating "open the pod bay door, Hal" and Zach was singing "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do..."