Guest / Limited Access /

"The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper … " (1 Kings 19: 11-13)

In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Grö ning approached the Carthusian monks, considered the Catholic Church's strictest order, for permission to film their monastic lifestyle. They responded that they were not ready for him.

In 2000, almost two decades later, Grö ning got the phone call he'd been waiting for. He was finally welcome to come. And Into Great Silence was born.

Grö ning lived as one of the monks for six months in the picturesque Grande Chartreuse monastery, a medieval enclave built into the side of a hill beneath the shadow of the monolithic French Alps outside Grenoble. He carted his own gear, shot his own footage, recorded his own sound—all without the benefit of assistance or supplementary lighting. Sometimes his camera captures exquisite clarity; other times it registers barely enough light to decipher an image—and yet, regardless, each and every shot is magnificent.

This film isn't interested in merely recording the mundane activities of monastic life, but rather immersing the viewer so completely that the barrier between projection and reception vanishes completely. Never has a camera been more intimate or observed as closely. It becomes a thing metaphysical rather than mechanical, trading the natural for the supernatural. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueJeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
The acclaimed photographer’s portfolio ranges from A-list stars to genocide survivors.
Current IssueEric Wowoh
Eric Wowoh
Refugee’s startup funds affordable, effective schools for Liberia’s poor.
TrendingDobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Dobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Pew tracks how many evangelicals came to pick Trump for president.
Editor's PickMy Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
My Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
A four-hour visit to the massive replica of Noah's boat left me with a flood of questions.
Christianity Today
Quiet Time
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.