Beauvois focuses on monks of Tibhirine in Des Hommes et des Dieux
by Fabien Lemercier
Shooting began at the start of the month in the Meknes region of Morocco on Xavier Beauvois’ fifth feature, Des Hommes et des Dieux (“Men and Gods”).
After focusing on policemen in The Young Lieutenant [+see also:
film profile] (five Cesar nominations in 2006 - including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay - and a Best Actress Award for Nathalie Baye), the 42-year-old director this time turns his attention to the monks of Tibhirine affair.
Seven French Trappist monks living in Algeria were kidnapped in March 1996 and executed two months later. The GIA (Armed Islamic Group) was officially held responsible for the collective murder, but according to documents recently declassified by the French secret services, it may have been a military blunder by the Algerian army.
The film’s cast includes Lambert Wilson (to be seen on screens in April in Imogène), Michael Lonsdale (Agora [+see also:
film profile]), Olivier Rabourdin (Welcome [+see also:
interview: Philippe Lioret
film profile]), Roschdy Zem, Philippe Laudenbach, Jacques Herlin and Sabrina Ouazani.
Co-written by Etienne Comar and Beauvois, the film retraces the life of the monks at Tibhirine, near Medea, from 1993-1996, and looks in particular at their successful integration in local community life, as they give literature classes to children and enjoy mutual respect with Muslims. Wilson will play the monastery’s superior and Lonsdale will appear as a monk-doctor who has been living in Algeria since the 1950s.
Having first come to attention with North (nominated for the 1993 Best Debut Film Cesar), Beauvois went on to direct Don’t Forget You’re Going to Die (Jury Prize at Cannes 1995) and To Mathieu (in competition at Venice in 2000).
Produced by Pascal Caucheteux for Why Not Productions (who have backed the director since his second feature), Des Hommes et des Dieux has co-production support from Armada Films and France 3 Cinéma, as well as an advance on receipts from the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC).
Shooting is scheduled to last two months in Morocco with cinematography by Caroline Champetier and production design by Michel Barthélémy (A Prophet [+see also:
interview: Jacques Audiard
interview: Jacques Audiard and Tahar R…
film profile]). French distribution will be handled by Mars Films.
(Translated from French)
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