Saturday, April 14, 2007

Into Great Silence

First, the movie is three hours long, counting the trailers. There is no intermission, and two hours into the film you start expecting the end every time the screen goes blank. Of course, it didn't. It usually displayed various quotes, their favorite one being "You seduced me, Lord, and I was seduced." After my inner Puritan shut up, I decided it was a good quote.

Second, the film occasionally gave off "flower patterns" and got blurry in spots. Very annoying.

That is all I have against it. The film is good in showing what life in a Carthusian monastery is like. It's not devoid of modern technology (electric clippers, plastic scrubbers, and light bulbs make cameo appearances) but it's very quiet: no visitors, little noise, and only periodic chatting. (The chatting is provided courtesy of the Carthusian laws, which prefers keeping Carthusians sane to enforcing an ideal.) They split their days between praying (alone and in groups), eating, and working - on gardens, herding, and general maintenance. The neat thing about this is they are not going nuts because of their silence, but are enjoying it.

This, of course, has a religious cause. Nothing other than the fear (or love) of God would make anyone choose a Carthusian way of life. Or so I judge from my knowledge of myself.

At the end, one of the Carthusians - a blind priest - is interviewed. He said, in essence, that most people have no reason to live, since they don't care at all about God or what He wants of us. This reinforces the theme of the movie: nothing but God satisfies, so Carthusians aren't fools for concentrating on God.

Overall, I would recommend watching it. Don't know whether I'll watch it again.

Next time I watch it, I'll buy more candy and drinks to tide me through. Something with caffiene is recommended, as a friend of mine who watched it nodded off a number of times.