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Into Great Silence review

Given exceedingly rare permission to film in the Alpine Grand Chartreuse monastery, Philip Groning has crafted a contemplative, near three-hour doc about the lives of the Carthusian monks. Bear with us...

Without interviews or commentary, the director immerses the viewer in their daily activities – not just praying and studying and chanting, but gardening, carpentry, cooking, clothes-making and cleaning. Still here? The almost complete absence of dialogue and music, coupled with the repetitive nature of the men’s tasks, makes time itself appear to slow down...

Even though a universal joy can be found in watching the monks, briefly let loose, sliding down a mountain slope and throwing snowballs at each other, this most certainly is not for everyone. But in capturing the surroundings of their cloister, Into Great Silence hypnotically shows how its self-sufficient characters peacefully co-exist alongside nature.

 

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