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Into Great Silence (Two-Disc Set)

214 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 experience for all.

Breathtaking 16:9 anamorphic transfer, created from Hi-Def elements
U.S. theatrical trailer
Optional English subtitles

The Making of Into Great Silence : With behind-the-scenes footage,
location photos and handwritten notes from the monks
Additional scenes, including a segment on the preparation of the
Carthusian s world-famous Chartreuse liqueur
Night Mass
The Carthusian Order : An informative guide to the rules, architecture, and
daily schedules of the monks and the monasteries
Extensive photo, poster, and press kit galleries
And more!


"One of the transporting film experiences of this or any other year." --Boston Globe

"The silence captured in this documentary -- a meditative look at life in the Carthusian monastery of the Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps -- may be the most eloquent you'll ever hear. " --San Francisco Chronicle - Walter Addiego

I hesitate, given the early date and the project's modesty, to call Into Great Silence one of the best films of the year. I prefer to think of it as the antidote to all of the others. --A.O. Scott - New York Times

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: The Carthusian Order
  • Directors: Philip Groning
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Latin
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 162 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,694 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Into Great Silence (Two-Disc Set)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

415 of 421 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos VINE VOICE on April 10, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Zeitgeist Films presents a documentary directed and written by Philip Groning. In French and Latin with English subtitles. Filmmaker Philip Groning spent six months living among the monks of the Grand Chartreuse Charterhouse in the French Alps for his documentary "Into Great Silence." The filmmaker was granted unprecedented permission to film in 2002. This was not given lightly, for his request was put forth to the prior sixteen years earlier.

This is cinema at its purest and most exalted. It is hard to place into words a film, which is wrought in silence. For 162-minutes you will be allowed a glimpse of the ascetic strictness of the monks. I do not see this as a documentary, but an immersion into an entire way of life that will have no voiceovers or explanations. Just a small part of our time spent in transcendent meditation on the human pursuit of meaning, on man as a religious and social creature, on the form and function of symbols, ritual and traditions. And on the rhythms of work and prayer, night and day, winter and spring.

It is a beautiful film where everyone will take away something different and hopefully fulfilling. The film will not allow you to enter the world of the monks, but to just view it from the outside. You will see the day-to-day activities from season to season and be able to form your own opinions and conclusions. Many may at first experience impatience at the repetitions and variations encountered, but allow yourself time to adjust to the contemplative pace. And be witness to the ordinary moments that taken together are a representation of grace.

The Carthusian monks who are the subjects of this documentary do not have a great deal to say.
Read more ›
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197 of 202 people found the following review helpful By Eric on May 6, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this film in the Independent Film Forum in NYC's Greenwich Village, and ended up having a two hour discussion about it afterwards. The main thing that shocked me about this film was how happy all of these monks are. If anyone would tell the average modern American to have every hour of the rest of your life neatly regimented into time segments, without time for television, vacations, or intimacy with members of the opposite sex, most Americans would thing of that as being excruciatingly difficult. However, when looking at the daily activities of these men, you "get it". Because of the regimentation of their daily tasks, when they do get a few hours on Sunday to talk, those hours are beautiful and meaningful. Their lives seem like the way life was supposed meant to be, one of hard work and communion with the Creator. I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a film that will slow their mental pace down and make them reflect on the importance of the various things you value in your own life.
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128 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Andres C. Salama on April 5, 2007
Format: DVD
This almost silent three hour documentary tracks the daily lives of Carthusian monks living at the Chartreuse Monastery in the French Alps, as they live in a way that seems to be in such contrast with the modern world. It's a fascinating movie if you are able to get into the slow rhythm of the film (if you are still in the movie theater after an hour, you will probably made it to the third hour). By the same token, it would be almost impossible to see it in your house on DVD, since there are so many possible distractions that would make you want to stop the film. Remarkably, given that European filmmakers tend to be among the most secular people in the world, the movie is also surprisingly respectful of the choices made by the monks in living in this particular way.
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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Murray on August 4, 2007
Format: DVD
5 stars for what it is - a meditative look into the sacred lives of these men, cloistered away from the world, but a community of believers who come together daily for prayer, and sometimes even for a bit of fun. If you watch this film, do so in a quiet place, and commit yourself to remaining in silence, without distraction, for the entire film, so you can experience the solitude and stillness of the monastery. The first hour may be excruciating, as you wait for something to happen, but as you relax into the quiet and feel the presence of God in the faces of the monks, you will get a taste of why people live in this way. What a gift this was - a gift from the monks to us.
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Claudio-Miguel on April 14, 2007
Format: DVD
I was fortunate to view this Documentary last year in Pasadena, California.

I went to see it again last month in Santa Monica, California.

It is to a Documentary like this that people will view over and over and ask themselves the question of: "Why"? The life of a Carthusian Monk is so far removed from our life in the World and we ask ourselves why one is drawn to become a Carthusian Monk.

There is no religious order that takes a VOW OF SILENCE. This was a common belief of the Trappists (Cistercians). As with the Trappists of old, Carthusians simply 'OBSERVE' Silence and eventually desire it.

From the Solemn Investiture of Novices into the Charterhouse of Le Grande Chartreuse; watching Monks getting a hair-cut; the tailor-monk making new habits; the simple act of eating one's meal alone in cell; the Solemn, repetitive chanting of the "BENEDICITE" from the Psalms in a darkened, candlite Church; to Monks enjoying their once-a-week outing on the snow slopes of the French Alps.......all these acts draw us inward and overwhelm our senses and give us a sense and portion of what it is like to be a member of the Strictest Order within Roman Catholicism.

If viewers are interested in further knowledge of the Carthusian Life, they might want to get Nancy Klein Maguire's book: "AN INFINITY OF LITTLE HOURS". Dr. Maguire takes us to St. Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminister, U.K. and follows 5 young men from 1960 as they enter this Charterhouse to follow their desire to become a Carthusian Monk.

Dr. Maguire's book is a magnificent companion to "INTO GREAT SILENCE'

It is a book that I have read and re-read many times and have not been moved so much since, except when I first read Thomas Merton's Autobiography - "SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN".

Buy the DVD! (Into Great Silence)
Buy the BOOK! (An Infinity of Little Hours)


Claude King
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Into Great Silence (Two-Disc Set)
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