Into Great Silence
Monday April 4, 7:00pm
Booth University College
a unique film experience, that will draw you into the life and prayer of a monastic community
he documentary film Into Great Silence is as much a contemplative experience as it is a movie, and while you can rent the video for home viewing it really is best to see it on a larger screen and in the company of other viewers. In so many ways a perfect film for the season of Lent, Into Great Silence presents a moving portrait of life in a Carthusian monastery—something that outsiders never get to see—by simply moving in and filming the day to day life of the community. A way of life that seems utterly detached from the “real world,” part of its reason for existing is to hold the world in constant prayer. And as you watch the community go about its work, you’ll find yourself drawn to the faces of those monks, almost as if you’ve come to know them.
*There is no admission charge for this event, but we do ask that you arrive between 6:30 and 6:50, so we can get everyone into the theatre room prior to the college doors being locked for the evening. Booth University College is located at 447 Webb Place.
Here is the “heads-up” on what you might expect. Clocking in at 160 minutes, the film moves viewers into a space where time seems to simply fade into the background. There is very little dialogue (perhaps a total of two hundred words are spoken), and there is nothing by way of narration or explanation. This is not a popcorn movie… but instead of craving something crunchy and butter-drenched, you may well find yourself in a place of prayer alongside of the monks. This is how the film company describes the project:
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 voiceover 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 theatrical experience for all.
We’ll begin at 7:00pm with a very brief introduction to the nature of the Carthusian monastic life, and then move into the screening. On its completion, we’ll let the theatre be simply silent for a few minutes, and then will have a short discussion for anyone who wishes to stay on and debrief the film. You may, however, decide you simply want to slip out quietly and let the film do its own work.
To view a trailer of the film, simply click here.