Into Great Silence

2007-06-27

Went to see Into Great Silence last night. It’s a film about a bunch of monks who don’t talk much; so the entire film is meant to engender a feeling for the contemplative life. The filmmaker has gone to lots of effort to make it peaceful and relaxing, while not too dull. He uses lots of wacky angles, film, video, even super 8 by the look of things. On the whole, it worked well; only a few people left, although someone just behind snored through half an hour of it. I thought it was overlong at over 2 hours.

I was rather moved by the serenity of the monks, by their enormous sense of peace; they were also deeply worrying. There are only a few pieces of dialogue: one was a reading which was rather rambling gibberish about the trinity; the other was a interview (although the film claims to have no interviews) with an old monk. He was a deeply serene individual. However, he claimed not to be scared of death as he would be closer to God and that, moreover, there seemed no purpose to living for those without God. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from here to think that if death brings you closer to God getting there faster is a good thing, and that if people without God have no purpose in life, then they might as well not be alive. Even within this most gentle part of Christianity, we can see the ghost of the crusades.

Originally published on my old blog site.