See synopsis at Of Gods and Men (2010) – IMDb.
Having written earlier this week of “receptive ecumenism” and new cross-cultural invitations to work together, this film reminds us, in its beginnings, that this is an ancient idea. We see a small Christian monastic community living harmoniously and symbiotically within a small Islamic village. Medicine, hospitality and wisdom between the communities is shared. On the desk of the monastery study we see a copy of the Canticles of St Francis and the Koran. The abbot is able to quote either Psalm or Koranic verse as occasion requires. The village imam expresses warmth and receptivity to the Christian presence amongst them. Drama begins as the news and horrific images of fundamentalist Islamic violence filters into the village. Threat looms over both the village and the monastery. The monks must decide whether to succumb to government pressure to leave or to stay come what may. The pressure of internal demons also plays its role. The tension is played out against the background of the rhythm of monastic life – prayer, work and rest.
Based on a true story, one knows what the outcome will be. This serves only to make more poignant our entry into the gripping story of each of the brothers as they wrestle with their calling and their fate.