Of Gods and Men

No one knows for sure what happened to the seven French monks who were kidnapped during the Algerian civil war and found dead in May 1996. But Xavier Beauvois, who directed and cowrote this moving spiritual drama (2010), doesn’t bother himself with that mystery; he’s more concerned with the faith and devotion of the victims, who refused to desert the monastery of Tibhirine despite the bloody terror unfolding all around them. None of the men wants to be a martyr, but their love for the villagers in their care, and for each other, trumps the steadily growing danger from the bloodthirsty mujahideen who patrol the country roads and zero in on the monastery as a strategic target. Alternately harrowing and humbling, this is a story of ordinary men whose compassion is tested in the cruelest, most profound fashion. With Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale. In French and Arabic with subtitles. R, 122 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Landmark’s Century Centre, Renaissance Place