Tonight I went the cinema to watch ‘Of Gods and Men’. Had time for a coffee first. Ordered it before I realized there were no spaces in the café. Went upstairs and took a prime spot on the mezzanine. Permission to share the space was granted – grudgingly – by the lady with the hip-bag and (I knew this without hearing her speak) the lisp, who clung greedily to her three bags of chocolates as if I would ask for a share of these too. The rotating door was a circle of glass below, through which I could spy on people from above. Sat happily spying and sipping for ten minutes before the start time approached.
Bought some mint poppets on the way in, then chose a selfish seat in the centre of a row. Comeuppance arrived with a pair of old ladies smelling of damp onions who sat right next to me. They were obviously very good, old friends; comfortable in each other’s company. One of them “Oh”ed on each change of scene, to which the other “mmm…”ed reassuringly. They chatted, cooed and – perversely – chuckled the whole way through the film.
The film was French and very serious. It was based on a true story of a Monastery in Algeria whose French Catholic monks lived in harmony with the Muslims in the adjoining village. The characters stay with you – especially the charismatic Christian, reliable Luc and charmingly aged Amédée. But what remains most is the scene before the monks are kidnapped and killed. The last supper. Two bottles of wine are shared and an excerpt from ‘Swan Lake’ is played, all the while showing just the expressions of eight monks as they experience the beauty of the music, and the realization of the inevitability of their fate. It is a cinematic masterpiece.
Peter Bradshaw explains it better than me – http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/dec/02/of-gods-and-men-review
(I especially love his analogy of ET coming back to life!)