Tuesday, January 8, 2013

::into::great::silence::by Philip Gröning

This is one of my "focal points," a centering place, for use on a tough day. It stands alone for its beauty, and its portrayal of monasticism, its good, its bad, its nonchalance, its difficulty, its surprising ease.

It's what I feel I need, when I get rarefied airs. It's what Abbot Truffatore flees when he hops the stone fence in the orchard, sheds his long frocks and golden do-dads, and dons plaid fleece shirts and pleated chinos.

Just to whet your appetite for the entire documentary, here is part one of seven.

About the film, from Wikipedia:

Into Great Silence (GermanDie Große Stille) is a documentary film directed by Philip Gröning that was first released in 2005. It is an intimate portrayal of the everyday lives of Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse, high in the French Alps (Chartreuse Mountains).

The idea for the film was proposed to the monks in 1984, but the Carthusians said they wanted time to think about it. The Carthusians finally contacted Gröning 16 years later to say they were now willing to permit Gröning to shoot the movie, if he was still interested. Gröning then came alone to live at the monastery, where no visitors were ordinarily allowed, for four and a half months starting in mid-March 2002. He filmed and recorded the sound on his own, using no artificial light. Additional shooting of the documentary took place in December and January; Gröning spent a total of six months filming in the monastery and took about two and a half years to edit the film before its release. The film has neither commentary nor sound effects added, consisting only of images and sounds of the rhythm of monastic life.[1]

The film has experienced generally laudatory reception, with 89% critics responding with positive reviews at T-metric section of Rotten Tomatoes and a "certified fresh" rating.[2] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting listed Into Great Silence as one of the best ten films of 2007.[3] The Carthusian monks themselves loved the film.[1]


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