Friday, November 18, 2005

Into Great Silence

Into Great Silence is a movie chronicling the everyday life of a Carthusian Monastery.

Some background info on the Carthusian order from a website about the film:

The Order of the Carthusians was founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne (1030 - 1101) in 1084 and is considered as the Catholic Church's strictest order. Since its founding, this order of hermits has been located in the mountains near Grenoble, France. There the monks dedicate themselves entirely to the service of God and to spiritual life, in permanent silence. The monastery was buried under an avalanche in 1132 and came close to being destroyed by fire eight times in its history. The present-day structure was built in 1688.

Every Charterhouse is economically independent and essentially self-sufficient. The monks are thus also active as farmers and craftsmen. There is a system of compensation within the Order, through which poorer houses are given aid, chiefly through the production of the famous liqueur.

The hermits' way of life – consisting of prayers, studies and physical work – has hardly changed to this day.

According to the Bavarian Film International website,

"Into Great Silence" is the first film ever about life inside the Grande Chartreuse, the mother house of the legendary Carthusian Order in the French Alps. No music except the chants in the monastery, no interviews, no commentaries, no extra material.

A film to become a monastery, rather than depict one.

A film on awareness, absolute presence, and the life of men who devoted their lifetimes to God in the purest of form."

What a radical expression of faith in our time!

Could a modern person sit through a movie like this? According to Catholic World News it is a suprising hit. It had its world premiere in Venice and was shown at World Youth Day in Germany.

A subscriber to CWN asks, "Where is it showing?" That, indeed is the question. I would love to get a DVD of this. It sounds like something well worth having.

For more information on the Carthusians, visit their website.

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