Monday, September 1, 2008

Into Great Silence

Monday's Media Review

It is hard to find words to describe a film which is based on silence. No film crews. No artificial lighting. No score, no archival footage. This film embodies the Grande Chartreuse Monastery rather than simply depicting it.

It started in 1984 when German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they did.

Gröning lived in the monks quarters for six months filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. “Into Great Silence” is the result.

We suggest you start by approaching this project (to call it a film or a documentary somehow just doesn’t seem adequate) as a meditative antidote to every other film you’ve seen. For 162 minutes you will be immersed into a way of life . . . and you will be provided no voiceovers or explanations.

For nearly 3 hours audiences contemplate the human pursuit of meaning, the form and function of symbols, rituals and traditions, man as a religious and social creature. They are immersed into the rhythms of work and prayer, day and night, winter and spring.

Relax and expect more of a meditative experience than a documentary. This is one of those rare films which manages to provide a transformative experience for all.

We give this one 4.5 Stars! Length: 162 Minutes


Chandira said...

THanks for the reminder!! I so want to see that movie! It looks really fascinating.

Dave Corby said...

Hi Chandira!

Thanks for your comment!!

A couple of suggestions for you: 1. "Into Great Silence" is best watched in one continuous sitting. The first time we watched it we did so over a period of three days - the second time in one sitting. The second was by far the better experience! 2. Remember that viewing "Great Silence" is not like watching a regular movie. For us it was more a meditative experience. If possible, watch it at a time when you are otherwise relaxed and able to let go!

Please let us know what you think of "Into Great Silence" after you have experienced it.