Into Great Silence was winner of a Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Nestled in the French Alps, the Grand Chartreuse monastery is home to the Carthusian Order, one of the most strict and reclusive orders of Roman Catholic monks. Eschewing outsiders, the order has never been photographed or filmed until now.
Philip Gröning had to wait 13 years for permission to film inside the monastery and, even then, he wasn't allowed a camera crew - he had to enter alone. Into Great Silence is the result of six months spent living among the monks and observing their daily rituals, repeated across the turn of the seasons.
With no commentary, no interviews, no score and no artificial lighting, this is documentary film stripped of its usual devices and the result is an apt meditation (of close to three hours) on the tranquility and stillness of life within the monastery; perhaps a tonic for our noise-filled times.
D/S Philip Gröning P Philip Gröning Dist Dendy L French, Latin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/2005/164mins
Philip Gröning was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1959. His films include The Terrorists (1992) Victims. Witness (1993) and L'amour, l'argent, l'amour (2000).