Die große Stille


INTO GREAT SILENCE is a very strict, next to silent meditation on monastic life in a very pure form. No music except the chants in the monastery, no interviews, no commentaries, no extra material. Changing of time, seasons, and the ever repeated elements of the day, of the prayer.
A film to become a monastery, rather than depict one. A film on awareness, absolute presence, and the life of men who devote their lifetimes to God in the purest of form.
Contemplation. An object in time,
'Into Great Silence' is the first film ever about life inside the Grande Chartreuse, the mother house of the legendary Carthusian Order In the French Alps.

Director's Statement

It's not easy.
Not easy at all to write about a film that gets by with nearly no words, a film that is truly as far away from language as a film can be, and far, too, from any discursive processes.
Nor is it easy to make a film outside the realm of language, outside what I'd always taken to be logic, dramaturgy even my own abilities.
How does one make a film that, more than depicting a monastery, becomes a monastery itself? How?
To this day, I don't know how. I only know that one can. That, at some point, this film took on form, became a monastery - space and not a narrative.
A film like a cloud; that's how I described it 21 years ago when the initial idea for this project carne up. And this idea, it's remained intact; 19 years ago, when I met the Carthusian for the first time; 18 years ago, when they said it was too early, 'in ten, 13 years maybe'; five years ago, when the monastery called: 'If you'd still be interested'.
Yes, Yes.
What is a cloud? Hard to say. There are different kinds. Very different, every one, and always right, just right, each one. I’ve never seen a wrong cloud.
Altogether, I spent nearly six months in the monastery of Grande Chartreuse. I took part in the life there, in the daily routine, and lived like a monk in a cell. Took part in this incredible balance between seclusion and community.
I shot a film there, recorded sound, edited. A voyage into silence.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Philip Gröning

Written by: Philip Gröning

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary 2006