Slightly overpraised in cinemas, this Cannes prize-winner nonetheless proves a highly affecting meditation on the eternal conflict between the secular and the spiritual.
Set in a monastery in ’90s North Africa, it tells of French monks concerned by the Islamic fundamentalism sweeping the civil war-torn locality.
Quietly observing the rites and rituals of its Cistercian brothers, Xavier Beauvois’ film escalates the tension as each monk grapples with fear and faith. But, like many a Sunday sermon, it could’ve been shorter and tauter.
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