The press conference for Xavier Beauvois’ film, Des hommes et des Dieux (Of Men and Gods), was this morning. The director was accompanied by actors Michael Lonsdale and Lambert Wilson, and the scriptwriter Etienne Comar. Chosen extracts.
Lambert Wilson on his personal religious convictions:
I can’t bear any sort of dogma, though I do respect those with religious convictions. I think that the film has real power to help people, it really goes beyond religion. It shows the essence of things, I mean human beings showing their love for each other.
Lambert Wilson explains how the relationships between the members of the cast and crew developed during the shoot:
Strangely enough, the fusion felt by the monks was something we also experienced. We bonded in the spiritual retreats and chanted liturgies together. Song has a unifying power. We are now a brotherhood, the whole crew. We come here to the Festival like brothers, and not simply cinema professionals here to present a film.
Xavier Beauvois on the slowness of certain scenes of the film:
In our society you have to move quickly, notably you see this in advertising and music videos. I think that the spectator is intelligent, that he will understand the film’s pace. I’ve got no good reason to edit my film at a fast pace, above all when it’s about monks and how they live.
Xavier Beauvois on the exploitation of religion for political ends.
Today we have the debate (in France) about the Burqa, and you can see the politicians using religion for their own ends. And yet we have much more pressing questions, notably about the homeless, the economic problem, farmers going bankrupt. I have Muslim friends who have really had enough of this false-debate and of being ostracised.