Into Great Silence (DVD)

Item #2492
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2 DVD Set

Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world's most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks' quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions.
This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it's a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all.

162 minutes

Disc One, The Film: Breathtaking 16:9 anamorphic transfer, created from high definition elements. This disc also contains the US theatrical trailer, and optional English subtitles.

Disc Two, The Extras: Includes "The Making Of Great Silence" with behind-the-scenes footage and handwritten notes from the monks. This disc also includes additional scenes, exclusive photo and press kit galleries as well as an informative guide to Carthusian rules, architecture, and daily schedules.

La Grande Chartreuse: France

La Grande Chartreuse is the original monastery of the Carthusian order. It was founded by St. Bruno of Cologne in 1084 in the Chartreuse Mountains, near the city of Grenoble in France. The name Carthusian is derived from "Chartreuse," as is the word charterhouse (the English name for a Carthusian monastery).

A Carthusian monastery is sometimes described, paradoxically, as a community of hermits. Each monk passes most of his life alone in his cell where he prays, works, takes his meals, and sleeps. During the course of the week, he leaves only three times a day for offices and communal mass. The order has its own Rule, called the Statutes, rather than the Rule of St Benedict.

The Carthusians' work is not of a pastoral or missionary nature. As far as possible, they have no contact with the outside world. Their focus is their life of prayer, which they undertake on behalf of the whole Church and the human race.

Since the 18th century La Grande Chartreuse has been supported by sales of their eponymous liqueur, made from an ancient formula of some 130 herbs, plants, roots and leaves, which is known to only two monks at any time.