Die große Stille (Into Great Silence)

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Built hundreds of years ago, the Grand Chartreuse is the head monastery of the Carthusian order — a religious group of enclosed monastics who take a vow of silence and whose ultimate goal is the contemplation of the divine. The German documentary film “Die große Stille” (Into Great Silence) seeks to portray the lives of these monks in the most intimate and elemental way, with no commentary or added bias. Because of this, the central role of the film is taken by sounds: and though not a silent film, it definitely is a quiet film. Nonetheless, it is full of auditory cues to take viewers directly inside this lifestyle. A slow film, it goes directly in hand with the way the monks act upon every new day, in a peaceful and tranquil way that ultimately engulfs audiences with the smallest of details — the chirping of birds, the changing of the seasons, raindrops, the rustling of wind. It is the most direct way for the filmmaker to transmit a message without incurring into narration or commentary.