A group of young adults in Spain are bringing to the big screen a novel about the renewal of the Cistercian Order by three saints who strove to recover the poverty, simplicity and austerity of the early monastic era.
“Three Rebel Monks” tells the story of Saint Robert of Molesmes, Saint Albéric, and Saint Stephen Harding, who overcame the challenges of monasteries that resisted their efforts.
The film is an adaptation of the book with the same title written by M. Raymond. The film director, Aleix Forcada, said that he began with a short university project and ended up with a thorough production.
The film was shot at the medieval monastery of Santa Maria de Huerta in Soria, Spain, where there is currently a Cistercian community.
Forcada and the other filmmakers are young adults in the Schoenstatt movement in Madrid. They spent four years in filming and editing, a period of time that they say has been an opportunity to encounter God, according to a press release on the movie.
Although the film is set in the 12th century, Forcada said it can be considered contemporary “because it speaks to us of eternal values such as constancy, perseverance, trust, humility, effort, courage…values that don’t have anything to do with ideologies or distinctions, are for everyone.”
He also emphasized that it has a special message for young people that are trying “to wake up from the toxic anesthesia of the ephemeral, of the ‘here and now.’ Things in life take time, and nothing comes without effort.”
Forcada also said that “the whole process of filming was an experience of God. I couldn’t pick out an exact moment…the simple fact of having been able to complete the film is a clear sign of the presence of God.”
The entire production and filming were made possible through small donations. Forcada said they received help from “anyone who could teach us how to organize film shoots with extras, anyone who gave us free lighting, the community of monks that welcomed us with such affection, the people that gave of their time to help us.”
Forcada said he hopes that people who see the film “leave the movie theater in a reflective mood,” regardless of whether they are Christian.