Into Great Silence

Posted on 14. Jan, 2014 by in Live Action Cat Films

Into Great Silence (Two-Disc Set) is a documentary with little dialogue which attempts to show the daily lives of a community of Carthusian monks who live in the French Alps. The Carthusians, known for being a “silent order”, do occasionally speak on camera about their lives and vocations and about some of the decision-making which goes into the community’s observance of some of the customs and traditions (the “Rule”) of that particular monastery. However, sound is buffered by long sequences of silence as footage of the activities of the daily life of the monastery attempt to show the effect of the Carthusian tradition of silence upon the monks’ daily lives. Food prep, tailoring, gardening, log-splitting, and religious rituals are all shown.
Though the monks are not seen to have any pets, indeed, their seeming preoccupation with day-to-day matters would appear to preclude such emotional extravagance, one monk feeds feral cats who come to the kitchen door of the monastery with table scraps from the monks’ meals. Though this is shown as a brief interlude in the movie, this is clearly a part of the daily routine, as a colony of semi-domesticated cats (they let humans get relatively close) is seen to fight over or in proximity to the food source.

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