- Cast: Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin, Philippe Laudenbach, Jacques Herlin, Loïc Pichon, Xavier Maly, Jean-Marie Frin, Abdelhafid Metalsi, Sabrina Ouazani, Abdellah Moundy, Olivier Perrier, Farid Larbi, Benhaïssa Ahouari, Idriss Karimi, Abdellah Chakiri, Farid Bouslam, Maria Bouslam
- Director: Xavier Beauvois
- Writers: Etienne Comar, Xavier Beauvois
- Producers: Pascal Caucheteux, Etienne Comar
- Executive Producer: Frantz Richard
- Casting: Brigitte Moidon
- D.O.P.: Caroline Champetier
- Editor: Marie-Julie Maille
- Makeup: Pierre Olivier Persin
- Production Design: Michel Barthélémy
Men of faith find their pacifist beliefs put to the test in this drama from filmmaker Xavier Beauvois, inspired by a true story. Christian (Lambert Wilson) is the leader of an order of Trappist monks living in the hills outside Algiers. The community outside the monastery is almost exclusively Muslim, and the monks have worked to foster understanding between themselves and their neighbors; they observe Muslim traditions, are well versed in the Koran, and provide medical and charitable assistance to the townspeople.
The monastery is an oasis of calm and peace as Algeria is caught up in a civil war, with forces led by Muslim extremists leading a bloody campaign against the nation's rulers. Christian and his monks do not wish to take sides in a conflict they believe is immoral; they refuse the protection of the military while also denying aid and comfort to the insurgents. The monks' efforts to remain outside the war, however, have ugly consequences when they're taken hostage by a band of Islamic revolutionaries.
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Filming Locations: Azrou, Morocco
- MPAA Warning: A momentary scene of startling wartime violence, some disturbing images and brief language
- Production Budget: € 4 million
- Production Companies: Why Not Productions, Armada Films, France 3 Cinéma, France Télévision, Canal+, CinéCinéma, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Cinémage 4, Cofinova 6, Soficinéma 6
- Production Schedule: December 2009 - January 2010
2011 Guide Analysis: "Last year's winner of the 'Grand Prix', the Cannes Film Festival's second most prestigious award, this €4 million French drama based on a true story scored strong reviews throughout Europe and the UK where it was released late last year. Producer Etienne Comar had been fascinated with the monks for years and first initiated the project back in 2006 on the tenth anniversary of the real life incident.
The hope wasn't just to explore the atrocity but to understand why the monks stayed in Algeria during the civil war which began in 1991 and still hasn't technically come to an end (though has significantly died down). There's also the issue of the monk's relationship with the local citizens and the stability they provided in a country ravaged by violence and unrest.
After a lot of consulting and research for authenticity, the script was completed and shooting got underway in Morocco in late 2009 at the unused Benedictine monastery of Tioumliline which was renovated to resemble the real Tibhirine monastery. Many of the actors lived as monks in the time leading up to filming to prepare for their roles.
After doing so well critically and commercially in Europe, in France alone over three million tickets have been sold, Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for release in the United States, Australia and New Zealand where it is set to open shortly. With its many awards and endorsements, this is definitely one worth checking out."