Into Great Silence
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Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voice-over and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, Into Great Silence dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it's a rare, transformative experience for all.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 63
- Fresh: 55
- Rotten: 8
- Average Rating: 7.6/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: For two hours and 42 minutes, Into Great Silence offers painterly images of an existence that is, almost literally, too reverent for words.
Fresh: Though it likely will not persuade people to join the ranks, experiencing life behind the walls has an undeniable effect. We've been allowed a glimpse of eternity. And who would not be changed by that?
Fresh: A rapturous, absorbing experience -- it has no voice-over, no back story or history, no archival footage and no talking heads -- but only if you can surrender yourself to it.
Fresh: Into Great Silence is a film of great spiritual intensity and haunting minimalism that enlarges your concepts of movies and of life.
This is such a beautiful and fulfilling film that is very unique with an interesting angle. It doesn't allow the audience to enter the world of the monks but, rather, view it from the outside.
Many should see it at least once
This movie is not for everyone...it's too profound for mass consumption. It takes a hold of any current world-view one might have, and suspends it until it is finished, leaving you with quite a contemplative stance. It will stay with you for a while, before getting sucked back in to the mundane.
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