Friday, March 14, 2014

Grand Chartreuse

German filmmaker Philip Gröning spent six months during 2002-03 living at the monastery of the Grand Chartreuse in the French Alps. Working alone, he documented the cycles of this ancient house as it moved in silence through its hours and seasons.  

In 2005 after more than two years of editing, Gröning released Into Great Silence. The film is almost three hours long, made only with available light and available sound. (There is no voice-over and this was what I liked best  being allowed to watch a documentary as a succession of images and being spared the customary oral directives about what to think.)  

The Carthusian monks follow a set of ancient rules requiring them to be silent almost always, and usually alone, each in his bare wooden room, praying and studying.

Once a week an outdoor walk is permitted, and conversation.