‘A cinematic meditation’: Catholic film on religious life in U.S. theaters Nov. 2

FreeStill A still from the movie "Free." | Credit: Bosco Films

A new documentary on Catholic religious life, filmed in some of Spain’s most beautiful and historic monasteries, will be shown in movie theaters across the U.S. for a one-night release on Nov. 2.

“Free” is a Spanish documentary filmed across 12 monasteries that provides an intimate portrait of the beauty of contemplative life hidden in cloistered convents and monasteries. 

In the film, Carmelites, Trappists, Benedictines, and Cistercians share their wisdom on some of life’s biggest questions from their life’s calling to finding joy in suffering.

The film, directed by Santos Blanco, takes the viewer inside 1,000-year-old monasteries across Spain from Salamanca to La Rioja.

The film will be shown in about 700 movie theaters across the U.S. in its original Spanish with English subtitles. The U.S. premiere of “Free” (known as “Libres” in Spanish) comes after a successful 17-week theatrical run in Spain, ranking it among the country’s most-watched documentaries in 25 years.

Father Joseph Hudson, a Benedictine monk from Oklahoma’s Clear Creek Abbey who saw the film at a pre-screening in Rome, called it “thought-provoking, serene, and beautifully crafted.”

A still from the movie "Free." Credit: Bosco Films
A still from the movie "Free." Credit: Bosco Films

“‘Free’ is a cinematic meditation, a journey into the quiet corners of the human soul and an invitation to explore profound questions about existence and purpose,” Hudson told CNA.

“This unique documentary invites audiences to step away from the ordinary cacophony of modern life and into the hushed, sacred spaces of monasteries,” he added. 

Hudson found that that film beautifully captured “the lives of those who have dedicated themselves to contemplation, leaving the world behind.”

“The viewer is transported not only within the walls of the monasteries that are rarely, if ever, open to outsiders but also into the even more secret sanctum of the hearts of the monks living inside her walls,” he said.

“The film reveals what happens when ordinary men and women set off ‘into the deep’ as the subtitle of the film, [Duc in Altum], suggests, in order to find the deepest meaning of life,” the monk said.  

“In the end they reveal that their journey is not so different from our own; they are merely seeking life’s most important answers with more intensity. They are mirrors of our own search for meaning, and perhaps, just perhaps, they may reveal to us some of Christianity’s most profound answers.”

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