Of Gods and Men


I really don't know where to start. This movie has rendered me speechless. Before I start, for those of you who have never heard of this movie or the events that this movie is all about, click here.

I have this movie in my hard drive for a long time. Being a regular visitor on Rottentomatoes, I always find it convenient to come upon movies that won't be found on KK markets. This movie is one of the many that in my opinion should have been shown on cinemas on Malaysia instead of the horror trash our local industry is competing on. Enough rants, let's start on the movie.

I know whenever it comes to representing christian faith, almost everybody will get it wrong, or slightly misunderstood. Hollywood tend to misrepresents while local directors tend to not portray christian characters at all (with the exception of the late Yasmin Ahmad, God bless her soul). I love christian movies, even those that may have portrayed christian negatively (Season of the Witch and Black Death) because sincerely, I know not all the negative things portrayed are without its reason. Of Gods and Men does not actually deals with the Almighty God directly or miraculously handled all the scenes in the men's lives. Rather this movie deals with men, who are in service of God, are also in service of their fellow men. In this case, their service towards the Muslim villagers in which their monastery had assisted for years.

What I really love about this movie is that how it does not put the Muslims as villains here. I mean, there was no real villain at all, just human who have the ability to be good and to be evil. This movie clearly discern the Muslim who are living in perfect harmony with the monks from the terrorists. From the start of the movie, we see one of the Muslim villagers inviting the christian monks to a relative's birthday party. The monks sit with the villagers as they pray and there was nothing wrong with the picture. On another scene, we see Brother Christian listening to Haji as he despaired over the death of a girl in honor killing, and Haji expressing his anger towards the extremist for committing such vile crime. Then when Brother Christian and Amedee told of their intention to leave the country for fear of their lives, a Muslim woman said "we are the birds, you are the branch. If you go what will happen to us?" Scenes like these shows how intertwined their lives are despite the difference of their religion. Now why can't we live in harmony like that?

Another aspect of the movie which I love very much is the way the monks support one another's faith. When they heard of the terrorists attack, they argued at first whether they should leave or whether they should stay. They fear for their lives but at the same time they could not bring to themselves to leave the villagers since their duty was to them. Despite the ongoing tension, the monks continued to live in a humble way, helping people who needed their help, going about their prayers and advising one another when their faith seemed to dwindle. This is exactly the way christian should practice their faith; by encouraging one another in faith. Even if these monks were no fighters, they were very strong and unflinching in their decision to keep peace within the monastery and within themselves. They do not curse at the terrorists nor do they were joyful when the leader of the terrorist was killed. They do not quote anything from the Bible to belittle Islam, nor do they try to forcefully convert anyone. They have respect for every living human regardless of the human's background. And even towards the end, they stayed strong in God.

This movie is a real eye-opener. I heartily recommend this to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.