Into Great Silence

Watch Into Great Silence

  • NR
  • 2005
  • 2 hr 42 min
  • 7.3  (2,487)
  • 78

Into Great Silence, a 2005 documentary film, directed by Philip Gröning, is a journey into the secluded world of the Carthusian monks living in the Grand Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps. The film depicts their austere life of silence, prayer, and meditation, where time seems suspended, and the demands of modernity are non-existent.

Gröning spent six months living and filming the monks, which gives the documentary its unique depth and intimacy. The film is not structured around a narrative but is more of a visual diary, conveying a sense of the monotony and routine of the monks' lives. We witness them awaken before dawn and spend hours in prayer, study, manual labor, and silent contemplation.

The film's lack of a soundtrack, except for ambient sounds, reinforces the mood of quiet that pervades the monastery, emphasizing the importance of silence for the monks. The visuals, too, are striking, as the images of the snow-covered mountains contrast strongly with the barren, sparse interiors of the cells and cloisters.

The film offers a rare glimpse into the Carthusian way of life, which is based on a strict adherence to the principles of simplicity and self-denial. The monks devote their lives to a quest for spiritual enlightenment while remaining detached from the distractions and temptations of the world. Gröning shows us how the Carthusians maintain this ascetic way of life by relying on their faith, the support of the community, and the strict adherence to their rule of life.

Throughout the documentary, the viewer is struck by the monks' intense focus on their spiritual lives, which forms the basis of their existence. Their strict adherence to silence requires the film's viewers to pay extra attention to the action on screen. Nevertheless, we are not left in a silence that is oppressive or monotonous but instead are enveloped by the peace one can imagine enveloping the monks lives.

The film's subject matter necessarily limits the audience of the documentary. This seclusion means that the monks remain alien to us as their lifestyle cannot be easily reconciled with the world and the hurly-burly active life of modern society. The film, therefore, requires a quiet space, time, and a willingness on the part of the viewer to reflect on the Carthusians' way of life.

Into Great Silence is a captivating and thought-provoking film that takes us to a world unknown to many of us. As viewers, we are almost forced to become silent and watch, removing the hustle and the distractions of the world in the process. It's an invitation to reflect on how our lifestyle contrasts with that of the monks and perhaps prompts us to consider the value of silence and solitude in our own lives.

In conclusion, Into Great Silence takes its viewers on a meditative journey into the peaceful, silent world of the Carthusian monks that is so different from our own. It's a tranquil and thoughtful film that inspires us to consider the necessity of a simple and somewhat secluded lifestyle that is deeply devoted to faith and meditation.

Into Great Silence
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 42 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (2,487)
  • Metascore