Into Great Silence
Deep in the French Alps lies La Grande Chartreuse, one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, the German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian religious order requesting permission to shoot a documentary about them. They wrote him back saying they needed to think about it. Sixteen years later they gave their approval, in a unique gesture by this monastery that otherwise never admits outsiders. For six months Gröning lived among the monks, filming their daily prayers, chores, rituals and rare visits outdoors. He used neither crew nor artificial lighting, and there's no musical soundtrack or voice-over. The monks spend 18 hours each day in silence; living in silence and solitude brings them as close as possible to God. This observational film offers a thorough immersion into transcendental monastic life. In the silence, all that remains is elemental: time, space and light. More than a documentary, Gröning’s masterpiece is a meditation, a film about consciousness and absolute presence. This is cinema at its purest.
Philip Gröning for Philip Groning Filmproduktion, Andres Pfaeffli for Ventura Film, Elda Guidinetti for Ventura Film
Max Jonathan Silberstein, Michael Hinreiner, Benedikt Just, Peter Crooks, Samir Foco, Michael Kranz, Ben Rosenkind