Into Great Silence (2007)
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Critic Reviews for Into Great Silence
This 2005 feature is demanding to say the least, but its pulse-slowing rhythms leave a real sense of peace.
As a place to enter and meditate, Into Great Silence is imminently worthy, but as a documentary, it doesn't do enough to probe the meaning of the quotation Gröning returns to repeatedly: "Oh Lord, you have seduced me, and I was seduced."
On a philosophical level, Into Great Silence emphasizes the virtues of the ascetic life, returning again and again to the idea of giving away all possessions in order to become a true disciple.
[Some] viewers are likely to consider this nearly three-hour, nearly soundless documentary as a chance to catch up on their sleep.
Audience Reviews for Into Great Silence
[font=Century Gothic]"Into Great Silence" is a nearly wordless documentary about the Grande Chartreuse Monastery in France(Instead of talking heads, there are silent heads.) where monks go to be closer to god, away from secular influences and most material comforts.(The only electrical appliance is an electric razor used to shave heads.) But the monks do go for the occasional walk and one talks of going to Seoul.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]All of which had the potential to be a fascinating documentary had it not been so long.(An interminable 162 minutes, by the way.) At epic length, it stretches the material to the breaking point, so most of it just seems random and redundant.(Some of the quotes definitely are.) And it would have been a nice touch if the camera had followed the two novices we first see at an initiation ceremony and gotten a feel as to how they adjust to the unique surroundings. Like one monk says, not all are accepted nor all are suited to the life.[/font]
I'm sure to many people this would have a great religious value, but I thought it was really boring. I just watched the whole thing on fast forward and I don't think I missed anything. I enjoyed watching the monks slide down snowy hills...that's about it.
Mesmerising. It really draws you into the patterns of monastery life.
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