Into Great Silence (2007)



Critic Consensus: A meditative, deliberately paced doc capable of absorbing patient viewers into a whole different world.

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In this contemplative documentary from filmmaker Philip Gröning, the Grande Chartreuse monastery opens its doors to the public for the first time since being founded by St. Bruno in 1084 to offer an intimate look at a lifestyle rarely experienced by those outside of the brotherhood. Located in the remote regions of the French Alps, near the Dauphiné Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is the top monastery of the Carthusian order. In this documentary, the lives of the pious monks of Grande Chartreuse are captured on film as director Groening adapts to their ascetic lifestyle for six months and captures their daily life without the intrusion of voice-over, musical score, interviews, or archival footage. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Documentary , Faith & Spirituality
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Critic Reviews for Into Great Silence

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (21)

This 2005 feature is demanding to say the least, but its pulse-slowing rhythms leave a real sense of peace.

Full Review… | May 4, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A transcendental piece of filmmaking.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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."

April 5, 2007
AV Club
Top Critic

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.

March 30, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

[Some] viewers are likely to consider this nearly three-hour, nearly soundless documentary as a chance to catch up on their sleep.

Full Review… | March 29, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

As we vicariously participate in their daily rituals, we find ourselves at the ground level of spiritual worship. It's hard to recall a similar documentary that brings viewers so palpably close to that sacred experience.

Full Review… | March 29, 2007
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Into Great Silence

If you can manage the almost-three hour running time, you may find this pensive documentary to your liking.

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

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.

Sarah Prisbylla
Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer


[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]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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