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6/14/13 9:24 AM
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foggybottom
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Edited: 06/14/13 9:31 AM
Member Since: 2/6/13
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Into great silence [Die große Stille] (Philip Gröning, 2005) from diosdesconocido on Vimeo.


Into Great Silence (German: Die Große Stille) is a documentary film directed by Philip Gröning that was first released in 2005. It is an intimate portrayal of the everyday lives of Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse, high in the French Alps (Chartreuse Mountains).

The idea for the film was proposed to the monks in 1984, but the Carthusians said they wanted time to think about it. The Carthusians finally contacted Gröning 16 years later to say they were now willing to permit Gröning to shoot the movie, if he was still interested. Gröning then came alone to live at the monastery, where no visitors were ordinarily allowed, for four and a half months starting in mid-March 2002. He filmed and recorded the sound on his own, using no artificial light. Additional shooting of the documentary took place in December and January; Gröning spent a total of six months filming in the monastery and took about two and a half years to edit the film before its release. The film has neither commentary nor sound effects added, consisting only of images and sounds of the rhythm of monastic life.

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This a beautiful film that really leaves the viewer with a sense that they are closer to God. It will also be of great interest to non-theists with an interest in monasticism. The Carthusian order was founded in the 11th century, and they live a dedicated spiritual life in the same manner they did nearly 1,000 years ago. 

I watched this a few years back and then read An Infinity of Little Hours: The Trial of Faith of Five Young Men in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order. Highly recommended! 

6/14/13 9:57 AM
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foggybottom
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Edited: 06/14/13 9:58 AM
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"The schedule for a monk’s day conveys both the simplicity and the rigor of the Carthusian life:

• 11:30 pm: The monk rises and prays the Matins of Our Lady in his cell.
• 12:15 midnight: He goes to the church for the communal chanting of Matins and Lauds
• 2:00-3:00 am: After the community chanting (which can take from 1 to 2 hours), he prays the Lauds of Our Lady alone, then returns to bed.
• 6:30 am: He rises for the hour of Prime (alone), and prepares himself for Mass.
• 7:45 am: The community Mass is celebrated in the church. Afterward, each monk celebrates Mass alone in one of the monastery’s tiny chapels. The members of the community who are not priests are assigned to serve at one of these private Masses.
• 9:00 am: He returns to his cell for mental prayer, the solitary prayer of Terce, spiritual reading, and manual work.
• 11:30 am: He prays Sext, and then has his main (and perhaps only) meal of the day.
• 2:00 pm: He prays None, continues his manual labor and spiritual reading, and ends the afternoon with the Vespers of Our Lady.
• 5:00 pm: The community gathers in the church again for Vespers.
• 5:30 pm: Back in his cell, the monk prays in solitude. Between Easter and the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14), he has a simple collation of bread and water; for the rest of the year, his midday meal is the only one.
• 8:00 pm: The monk prays Compline alone, then retires.
 
The details of the Carthusian life only emphasize its rigor. The monks never eat meat. They fast on bread and water every Friday. Their single meal is deliberately simple fare—a soup, a vegetable dish, and some form of egg or fish—without any sauce or spice to add special flavors. Except on Sundays and holy days they eat alone. They wear hairshirts. They wear simple habits—wool in the winter, cotton in summer—on top of whatever simple clothing they receive from friends and benefactors. Their cells are unheated except for a wood stove which they maintain for themselves.
 
Anyone interested in the Carthusian order must undergo psychological screening before he enters the monastery as an aspirant, and only mature candidates are encouraged. The Novice Master is also careful to watch over his charges, vigilant for signs of spiritual or psychological problems. As one mature monk put it, “It is very dangerous to be here, if you don’t have a real vocation to this way of life.”
 

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If you're not familiar with Matins, Terce, Vespers, Compline, etc. - check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_hours. I find it interesting (and meaningful, for me...) to trace the history of scheduled and systematic prayer from Judaism to our current day. My goal as layperson is to get to the point where I pray in the morning, the evening, and at night (this is in addition to praying the rosary, or any  at-will sort of prayer). 

6/16/13 8:35 PM
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scaredy cat
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In for watching later. Thanks for posting.
6/19/13 11:54 AM
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foggybottom
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"Also suggesting a life of their own: the furry eyebrows of a blind monk who regards his disability as a gift from God. The monks stare at the camera; rarely are we told what they're thinking, but the blind man seems to speak for everyone when he talks about his unquestioning spirit.

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. Compared with the materialism, intolerance and violence that now dominate most public discussion of religions, their priorities seem almost revolutionary."
6/19/13 6:00 PM
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tappout
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I bought the DVD several years ago after seeing it on IFC (I believe it was). This is an absolutely beautiful piece of work.
6/27/13 9:01 AM
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foggybottom
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tappout - I bought the DVD several years ago after seeing it on IFC (I believe it was). This is an absolutely beautiful piece of work.

Agreed.

Trailer above.

11/24/13 3:02 AM
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Large Intestine
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Great, great movie Phone Post 3.0

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