Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Into Great Silence

A review from the New York Times:

A German documentary about Roman Catholic monks who barely utter a word, "Into Great Silence" runs 162 minutes — 162 engrossing, entrancing, enlivening minutes. Operating the camera himself, the director, Philip Gröning, brings us inside a world as mysterious and often as silent as the dark side of the moon, a charterhouse of Carthusian monks in the French Alps. Founded in the 12th century, the Carthusians are among the most rigorous of all Catholic orders, since the monks (and separately accommodated nuns) mostly live alone in their individual cells. In an overwhelmingly noisy world, the Carthusians seek God in solitude; all things considered, including the enviable tranquillity and focus of their lives, you soon understand why. Because solitude is the essential vocation of the Carthusians, "Into Great Silence" is purposely low volume, with no voice-over and little exegesis. Framed by the seasons, the film opens in a wintry hush with the introduction of two initiates. In the days and seasons that follow, the filmmaker takes us in and around the charterhouse and cells, following the initiates and monks as they eat, pray, work — planting, cooking, sewing — and sometimes play. Through unrushed rhythms and a harmonious mise-en-scène, Mr. Gröning finds beauty in a mote of dust, a patch of newly tilled earth and the long white eyebrows that hang over an aged blind monk's eyes like a curtain. Grace, it seems, makes little noise.

I'm very intrigued. Does anyone know though where I could get a copy of this hard-to-find film?

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