Directed by Philip Gröning
Country: France/Switzerland/Germany
Year: 2005

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Philip Gröning’s Into Great Silence is an elegant look into life at La Grande Chartreuse, a Roman Catholic monastery in the French Alps home to the monks and nuns of the Carthusian Order. High in the mountains, these men and women live a life of enduring silence, contemplation, and solitude, supporting themselves by brewing the green liquor chartreuse.

In 1984, Gröning approached the inhabitants of La Grande Chartreuse to ask if he could make a film documenting daily life there.

Sixteen years later, they responded.

Gröning could film them, but with provisions: First, that he come alone. Second, that he must live by the rules of the monastery while filming. And third, that he must not add in artificial light, music, or commentary during the editing process.

The final result, Gröning’s Into Great Silence, has almost no dialogue. Instead of words, it speaks through the natural sounds within and surrounding the monastery, the prayer rituals of those inside, and of course, silence itself.