Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Into Great Silence

Movie review from The Movie Snob

Into Great Silence (B). This is a very unusual documentary. A German film-maker went to the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps and simply filmed the monks who live there over a six-month period. This monastery is considered one of the most ascetic in the world, and it certainly shows in this film. Their lives are extremely simple, consisting of virtually nothing except prayer and work (of the agricultural variety). Their cells are small, bare rooms, and they own virtually no possessions. Although they apparently do not take vows of silence, silence looks like their normal condition, except one day a week when they go out on nature walks and relax a little bit. The movie is over 2 1/2 hours long, and most of it is silent footage of the monks going about their business, so it is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But for a glimpse of a world most people have never seen (it took 16 years for the monks to grant the director permission to film), it is quite an interesting accomplishment.


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