Into Great Silence

I am in the process of purchasing the movie/documentary. Just wanted to know if any of you have already seen it… What is your opinion? Its okay if you talk about it in detail, as for me, I was never the one to be upset when the story was out.

God bless everyone!:smiley:

I look forward to hearing your take on it. I have been waiting for its release for a year now.

I think we can all learn from it.

It’s not a narrative film so much as a peek inside monastic life. It does take you through a cycle of seasons over the course of a year. Interspersed with scenes and sounds of their daily life are meditative scripture verses which are returned to as a point providing some focus.

Some have found it to be a wonderful experiencial piece, if you are able to quiet yourself and enter in. Others who are already aquainted with this sort of thing may have found it to drag and simply been a documentary witness of what they already knew or would expect.

In any case, it is interesting and a privilege to take this look which so few are able to see up close and personal. The cinematography is grand, and the soundscape amidst their silence enlightening.

There is something of a surprize near the end which I won’t spoil, but it is breathtaking and I think the most beautiful part of the film.

I havent seen the full video, but it is supposed to be amazing. The liturgy you will see is the Carthusian Rite which remained unchanged from the twelth century to 1981.

Here’s a similar documentary. It is short, but very good.

Oh my gosh, I can’t WAIT to see this film! I’d like to rent it first, because I don’t like to spend the money on purchasing a video that I haven’t seen first.

But it almost seems worth it. It looks so completely beautiful.:signofcross:

I was really taken in by it and it was really, truly like a retreat for me – I got to see it in a movie theater so I had the big screen, the dark room and a very good audience that kept quiet.

If you can try to recreate that atmosphere – do it. Unplug the phone, close the curtains, turn up the sound (well, when there is sound…:smiley: ) make sure you have no interruptions (i.e. use the bathroom before you start and don’t stop for a snack.)

I left the theater in such a serene state that I wanted to see it again like that, but of course, it is no longer in the theater…and I think I was lucky to get my wife to go once.:rolleyes:

I saw it in a theater and it was wonderful. I think, for me anyway, sitting in the darkened theater helped to heighten the experience of the film. At 3 hours, it’s pretty long, but by the end of the movie, you have a pretty good idea of the rhythm of life in the monastery.

I saw it in a theater and it was beautiful. It’s very contemplative in nature. Slow and peaceful. I felt like I was drawn deeper and deeper into the silence.

I loved it, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. A number of people in the theater walked out and the woman next to me fell asleep. I think you need some appreciation for a life of prayer, for a life that’s much the same from day to day and year to year.

I went to the theather when they showed it to see it. It was a wonderful experience for me because I never seen anything like that before. The Monks lives are very extraordinary, a humble Christian way and traditional. I can’t imagine the beauty of their ways, and how peaceful and joyful they are living for Christ. I love the film and learned from it. I’m thinking of going in a retreat to a traditional monastery probably after college (in 2 years) or if I’m lucky to have enough finances to go anytime. The film for the most part is silent, but not all the time, the Monks chanted, some were interviewed, played on the snow, and it also showed the Monks having a good gathering time outside their cloisters. I enjoyed it eventhough it was silent for three hours, but you will feel the presence of God in their lives as you watch the film. Is the DVD already out in the stores?

Laudater Jesus Christus
Instaurare omnia in Christo

Amazon says it will be released on October 23.

Thank you

God Bless

The following is the monologue spoken by a blind monk living in Grande Chartreuse, France. His message is for everyone.
Into Great Silence
Chapter 20
Speaking of God (A blind Carthusian monk speaks of God)

Why be afraid of death?
It is the fate of all humans.
The closer one brings oneself to God the happier one is.
It is the end of our lives.
The closer one brings oneself to God, the happier one is.
The faster one hurries to meet him.
One should have no fear of death. On the contrary!
For it is a great joy to find a Father once again.

The past, the present, these are human.
In God there is no past. Solely the present prevails.
And when God sees us, He always sees our entire life.
And because….
He is an infinitely good being…
He eternally seeks our well-being.
Therefore, there is no cause for worry in any of the things which happen to us.

I often thank God that he let me be blinded.
I am sure that he let this happen for the good of my soul.
It is a pity that the world has lost all sense of God.
It is a pity….They have no reason to live anymore.
When you abolish the thought of God, why should you go on living on this earth?
One must always part from the principle that God is infinitely good, and that all his actions are in our best interest.
Because of this, a Christian should always be happy, never unhappy.
Because everything that happens is God’s will.
And it only happens for the well-being of our soul.

Well, this is the most important.
God is infinitely good, almighty and he helps us.
This is all one must do, and then one is happy.

This DVD is about as close to a “retreat-in-a-box” as you can get.

Buy one for yourself and others as gifts for Christmas!

Good idea.
Try getting the 2-disc version for the extras. The commentary by Cardinal Poupard is excellent.

My wife and I watched it last weekend. I wasn’t looking foward to it - thinking it would be really boring.

I was completely wrong. It was one of the most contemplative things I have ever seen. I thought they lived beautiful lives.

I just got the 2-disc version from Amazon and have watched Disc 1. Enjoyed it very much. The only change I would have recommended would be for it to have begun with a clearer understanding of the physical layout of Charterhouses, the individual cells, their internal arrangement, etc. It’s almost something more to be “absorbed” than watched. Have to be in the right frame of mind. It’s not something for a Wednesday night when the choice is between “Into Great Silence” or something from Netflix.

I have to say that I thought it was a really good idea, but it was too intense for me… actually it left me a little wide-eyed “Can I really survive as a contemplative??” The filmmaker doesn’t make it easy for you at all. There is no (as far as I remember) following one particular monk to give you a semblance of a story; also, for me at least, it was really diffficult because I knew that behind the face of the monk reading silently, working in the garden, etc., there was a vivid spiritual life and that’s why one can survive the contemplative life, but that was mostly closed off to the viewer since it was so visual and not verbal. That would have called for something artificial like a voice-over or more interviews, so it’s sort of understandable that they didn’t include it. So I was less excited about it after I had seen it than before. Not that I think it was a bad idea or badly done, but it is strong medicine.

I saw it in a nearly-empty theatre in the afternoon, and immediately afterward went to evening Mass. The movie was such a profound experience for me that I could not stop crying all through the Mass. For me, I don’t think the at-home experience could ever match the big screen in the large, quiet, dark theatre. But for a person who missed it in theatres, the DVD will certainly be better than not seeing it at all.

The recurring scripture quotes really brought it all together for me and helped me pray during and after the film. And I loved the blind monk’s monologue, especially his saying that his blindness helped to save his soul.

When I looked it up on Amazon, I saw a soundtrack CD and wondered if it was a joke - what would it be, footsteps? But then I looked at the tracks and remembered the scenes. I’m glad for this thread - I am having trouble submitting my Christmas wish list for our gift exchange. Even though I doubt I will enjoy it as much as the first time, I will add this DVD to my list - the 2 disc version.


This movie turned a darkened urban theatre into a sacred space for me. The night I went there was a fairly good-sized group in attendance – people sitting alone, in pairs, a small group of half dozen; ages from probably late high school or college through senior citizens. No one left; no one’s cell phone went off; no one coughed or rustled candy wrappers. It was amazing experience and the hours just flew by (well, except for about the first 30 minutes; you do have to get into the flow of the film . .).

I will buy the DVD . . .

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