Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Grosse Stille, Die

[That's German. Great Silence, The]

First there was BBC's hit show Monastery. (No plans to bring it this side of the pond ... :-( ). [Corey, can you see if a DVD is available over in the Isles?]

Now, it seems, a largely silent movie about Carthusian monks is playing to packed houses in Germany! (Via the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.)
An unlikely film has been filling cinemas in Germany in recent weeks: a three-hour documentary with hardly a single spoken word, set in a monastery.

The film Into Great Silence is an intimate portrayal of the everyday lives of Carthusian monks high in a remote corner of the French Alps.

It came about 17 years after the director first requested permission to make it.

At the monastery, only the candles break the darkness.

It is the middle of the night and in the icy cold of their stone cloister, the monks sit in their thick habits reciting Gregorian verse.

"I think they simply do it because they choose to... become close to God," says the film's director Philip Groening.

"It's a very simple concept, the concept is God himself, is pure happiness, the closer you move to that, the happier you are."

Here's the IMDB site.
[Heh. I love the way the title appears in German. Grosse Stille, Die.]

And you can view a trailer as well at the film's site.

Yes, there is huge evangelical potential here. But, I guess, it's also part of the "weird/cool/strange" attraction of "alternate" spiritualities that are so popular in post-Christian places. What's the lesson here for the church? Be exotic? Or, just, be yourself. And don't try too hard to be "relevant." For, if we really believe what we say we do, the power of the Gospel will transform lives. That's what happened, it seems, to the folks in the BBC series for sure.


Anonymous said...

This aired on Kentucky public tv in 2002.

Gashwin said...

Ah -- true. PBS also aired a documentary about the Trappist monastery at Mepkin, in South Carolina, produced by Paulist Media Works (I believe back in 2002).

These are both fantastic pieces. What I found was remarkable about the story from Germany was how this new film on the Carthusians is playing to packed houses. Which, like it or not, rarley happens with PBS documentaries!

[Incidentally, a search on the PBS website for Trappist didn't give any links to the show at all, but several to Religion & Ethics weekly pieces on the monastery at Mepkin and its remarkable Abbot, Fr. Francis Kline OCSO. Please keep Abbot Kline in your prayers -- he's been struggling with leukemia for a few years now, and is very seriously ill right now. Abbot Kline is a remarkable person, and has had a significant influence on my life and my vocation as well.]

coray said...

that's a negatory, good buddy