Of Gods and Men (and hope?)

H_____ really wanted to go to the cinema on New Year’s Eve and the film that she really wanted to see was ‘Of Gods and Men‘. I wasn’t overly keen to see it as it seemed a bit of  a downer for what is traditionally a day that doesn’t need any extra help to be a downer.
But it was either that or have a domestic downer around the streets of Dublin. So away to the cinema we went.

Coming out of The Lighthouse after watching the film I felt a strange sense of despair. It was a very well crafted film (based on  true story), dealing with faith and Christian suffering in a realistic way. I loved the scenes of the brothers farming the land, going to the market, going about their daily business of housekeeping and the good Christ like lives they lived day in, day out in the small rural village in Algeria.

Yet the final scene of the film, where these ordinary, good Christian men walk and trudge in  a line silently before disappearing into the mist and snow of an African mountain filled me with emptiness and left me despairing.
I don’t know how to explain it except its like they followed Jesus in life and to the cross and died, but where is the good news at the end?

It would be like watching  a very well made, thoughtful and beautiful film about Jesus and the disciples and the final scene of the movie was a beautifully shot image of Jesus being marched up Calvary to be executed then the credits rolling.
I’m not one for happy endings, easy answers and Sunday School but if the best we can aim for in death is a walking into some  beautiful, cold and silent Christmas card scene after struggling and living as best we could  in our community it doesn’t give me any sort of peace or hope.
What about a Promised Land, resurrection and good news?
Where was the hope?

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3 thoughts on “Of Gods and Men (and hope?)”

  1. this film didn’t make me sad and that was the shock for me. i think the end was hope because they we’re living for something more than staying alive and so they wern’t afraid (or unwilling) to die. I felt like as they got into the van death had already lost it’s sting.

  2. I had exactly the same feeling after watching The Mission a few months ago.

    It does a good job of showing martyrdom and that things aren’t easy but I didn’t get a sense from the film that there was a bigger picture,
    or a happy ending behind it all and at the end everybody in church says that Christianity is good news, death is defeated etc.
    and that evil and suffering is defeated.
    I didn’t get that feeling watching them being herded into the van, or walked along the snowy mountain. And the bit in the credits that says nobody was ever caught or an explanation given for the murders left me feeling empty.
    Not that its right to expect that from an arty French film, but it seemed like an empty beautiful picture

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