Loading
Movies
Renowned documentary on monastic life makes US debut
Film offers glimpse into the lives of Carthusian Monks
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A feature-length documentary on monastic life, which has had unexpected success on the big screen in Europe and Canada, will be released in theatres across the United States this month.

“Into Great Silence” is a nearly three-hour film, by German director Philip Groning, on life inside the Grande Chartreuse — the great, historic Carthusian monastery in the French Alps.

The film was released in France on Dec. 20, and had 18,500 viewers in its first week. According to La Croix, more than 120,000 moviegoers saw the film in a very limited number of French theatres.

“Into Great Silence” is described as a “very strict, next-to-silent meditation on monastic life in a very pure form.” The documentary does not include any interviews, commentaries or music, except for the monks’ chanting. The narrative relies on rhythm, on sound and movement.

This is the first film ever made about life inside the Grande Chartreuse and is the result of a longstanding and trusted relationship between Groning and the General Prior. The last photos of the place were taken in 1960, when two journalists were allowed inside the monastery, provided no monks were depicted.

Groning first had the idea for the film 21 years ago. He met the Carthusians for the first time 19 years ago. When the director first pitched his film idea to the monks one year later, they said it would be too early to make the film. They had told the director to hold off for about 10 or 13 years. The monks finally called Groning five years ago, asking if he was still interested in making the film.

Groning spent a total of six months living with the monks, between 2002 and 2003, during which he filmed, recorded sound, and edited the feature length film. He took part in daily life there, and lived like a monk in a cell. “[I] took part in this incredible balance between seclusion and community,” he said.

The director admitted that it was not easy at all to write about a film with nearly no words. “At some point, this film took on form, became a monastery – space and not a narrative,” he said.

“Basically, a ‘normal’ film always works with language – and language overlays time,” the director said. “I think that the most profound experience a viewer can make when watching a film is to get a feel for time.”

“Usually this experience is masked by the story. In a film about silence – a ‘silent’ film – this experience of time is swept up to the surface. Nothing detracts from it,” he continued.

“And this, in turn, is directly connected to the way the monks live: in an absolutely rigid temporal structure that lays down when something has to be done and the rules according to which it has to be done.”

A shorter version of the film has also been cut for international TV sales; a book of photographs and a CD release of chanted masses and services will be created. The film was made with a budget of over 700,000 Euro.

For screening locations, visit: http://zeitgeistfilms.com/playdates.php?directoryname=intogreatsilence

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
31

Liturgical Calendar

October 31, 2014

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Gospel
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Phil 1: 1-11
Gospel:: Lk 14: 1-6

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/31/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Homily
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14