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.
“Silence. Repetition. Rhythm. These are the things monastic life is based upon. Europe is deeply rooted in this monastic, now almost forgotten tradition; Monasticism is at the center of the collective memory of Europe. Silence is inner space, yet silence is never silent. The beautiful bruits du silence are filling the moments that we consider silent. Only in complete silence does one begin to hear. Only in the absence of language does one begin to see. After having created the film Into Great Silence, I have tried to create an audio CD reflecting the film: chants, noises (bruits du silence), bells; elements of the film and new elements, all creating an open space for the listener."-- Philip Groning