Into Great Silence
The Carthusian order is reputed to be one of the strictest brotherhoods in the Roman Catholic Church.
Hidden in the French Alps the Grande Chartreuse was last filmed in 1960 provided no monks were seen. Phillip Gröning waited years to be granted permission to film Into Great Silence and when finally allowed to do so he agreed to abide by the strictest conditions.
There was to be no artificial light, no additional sound, no commentaries and no crew. Gröning followed their strict monastic code for four months in order to gather his footage, filming alone for just four hours a day as he had to complete an equal share of chores to the other monks.
The documentary which emerges visually portrays what it means to be part of their wholly alien way of life. With an immensely delicate and sensitive touch, Gröning translates their meditative existence to screen. Simple repetitive tasks such as slicing an apple or cutting reams of cloth are imbued with a sense of wonder and awe.
Into Great Silence offers the rare opportunity to contemplate such stillness far removed from the modern world. Currently nominated for Best Documentary at the European Film Awards.