October 15, 2007 at 2:13 am #24904
I recently came upon a film that is coming to DVD soon
(October 23) called “Into Great Silence”.
It depicts the experience of living in a monastery in
the French Alps. I preordered both it, and the associated
“Chant”-like soundtrack. I can give a review after I get
it and watch it.
While I realize it is outside the realm of Taoist pursuits,
to those who are interested in spiritual endeavors, you
may find it intriguing. I personally watched a trailer
of it online (which you can find if you poke around the website),
and at least for me, I’m quite excited about getting it.
From the website:
“Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the worlds 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 monthsfilming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict oneit 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, its a rare, transformative experience for all. “October 15, 2007 at 8:31 pm #24905
I saw this in London. You will like it. It is about a dying order. What young man wants to go here anymore?
The part I recall the most was the sound. Against the backdrop it was an avalanche and a constant accompaniment to the Great silence.
Personally I would have liked to watch Taoist monks in the mountains but this will do…BarryOctober 15, 2007 at 9:06 pm #24907
Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it.
The order is dying? On the website, in one of the director’s blogs I think, he
had suggested to them that the film would be a good thing in that it would
be “free advertisement”, and the film would generate interest in having people
come/perhaps join. The monastery responded with something like, “well, we
don’t really need advertisement; we’ve been around for a thousand years,
we’re not worried about dying”. Of course, I suppose it could just be
arrogant wishful thinking on their part, but anyway.
The sound/lack of it looks like it could really be a haunting experience.
About 6 months or a year ago, there was a series on TLC called “The Monastery”.
Although that was completely different . . . it was done in a monastery in
southern California/Arizona/Nevada or something. In that one, the monastery
was a more modern one (albeit still Catholic Christian) in which a number
of the monks had their own computers and internet access. They brought
in a bunch of spiritual misfits and made it into a “reality show” of some
sort. While most of the time, they were in silence, doing chores, or having
some liturgy stuff, there were other periods where they would meet with
various monks and have conversations. It was kind of interesting.
Of course the one on the DVD is a more classical, hardcore one, and so
it’ll be cool to see just for whole esoteric aspect of it.
If there ever is another such presentation of any other type of
monastery, i.e. Taoist, Zen, Buddhist, Hindu, etc., I’ll of course
I would have to agree with you though. I don’t see how too many
people would be attracted to such an ascetic lifestyle, especially
in today’s day and age.
Personally, I’ve always been kind of attracted to the monastic
spiritual way, but I wouldn’t want to join one. Too much of
your day is completely scheduled down to the minute, and you
pretty much have to follow their routine. I would be more interested
in something where, of course you have chores, but much of the
day is left to you–to cultivate spiritually in whatever way you
want–be it several hours of qigong or meditation or whatever.
Something like that would be much more attractive, but I don’t
think that that really exists.
SteveOctober 15, 2007 at 10:03 pm #24909
Yes I saw the two films about the monastry and the missfitted. The first was with monks and men and the second with nuns and woman. Realy interesting stuff. I liked the one with men best. Especially the part when the monks did give special advices to one of the “missfited”. If I not remember wrong one of the monks where also exercising some kind of qigong. Interestingly enough. So there should have been some kind of freedom at that monastry.
There was also a film In Sweden following a young girl shosing to be a nun in a “hard core” monsastry you never leave under your whole life. Also interesting. Don’t remember the name of it but if you are interested I can try to figure it out.
S DragonOctober 15, 2007 at 10:39 pm #24911
Yeah, if you watched the same thing I watched, then they
did show one of the guys that was in this monastery doing
qigong one day, but that was a special day. At that
particular monastery, they have a so-called “desert day”
once per month, where everyone is supposed to be on
total silence and the regular program is put on suspension
so that each person is left to themselves.
Yeah, if you happen to remember the name of the film, I’d
SteveNovember 3, 2007 at 6:06 pm #24913
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