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Of Gods and Men [Blu-ray]
(Xavier Beauvois, 2010)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Why Not Productions
Video: Artificial Eye
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 33,542,746,926 bytes
Feature Size: 28,607,895,552 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 11th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1680 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1680 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 782 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 782 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), none
• The Victims of Tibhirine - a Further Inquiry (19:25)
Description: A monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay... come what may. This film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, from 1993 until their kidnapping in 1996.
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 neighbours; 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.
Though it takes place in the recent past, “Of Gods and Men” has
an unmistakably timely resonance, evoking as it does both the messy wars
on terror and the rebellions currently convulsing North Africa and the
Middle East. And yet while it takes pains to be historically authentic,
the film, closely based on the true story of a group of French
Cistercian Trappist monks caught up (and ultimately killed) in the
violence, also keeps an eye on less worldly, temporal concerns.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Of Gods and Men from Artificial Eye has very strong detail and some notable depth as well as a greenish/blue hue that, not having seen the film theatrically - can only assume is a part of the original appearance as flesh tones are supported accurately. There is a lot of beauty in the film and the visuals support it well. This 1080P Blu-ray is a dual-layered transfer and has impressive sharpness. There isn't a lot of grain - the image has some smoothness and there is some blockiness but it is easy to see this is an HD representation. Contrast (a factor in detail) is adept and the film (a touching masterpiece) was a memorable presentation via the Blu-ray format.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio has two lossless options (both in original French) - a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1680 kbps and a standard 2.0 stereo. There isn't an abundance of range or depth - but that is not part of the film's soundstage. It is clean and crisp ands seems a fine representation with some notable moments of subtle separation and even very audible dialogue. There are optional English subtitles.My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The Victims of Tibhirine - a Further Inquiry is a good historical/educational piece on the French Monks running 20-minutes. Plus there is a trailer but I would have thought the film deserved even more. Still the video is excellent to get a perspective on Of Gods and Men.
March 31st, 2011
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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