Into Great Silence

Director: Philip Gröning
Year Released: 2005
Rating: 3.5

Remarkable look into the lives of the monks of La Grande Chartreuse monastery in France as they work, eat and pray, avoiding communication with the outside world altogether and each other (for the most part - they apparently are allowed to talk to each other once in a while). Gröning tailors this less as a 'documentary' in the strictest terms (we don't learn their names, their backgrounds or anything like that) and more as a meditation on the life of someone who chooses this lifestyle, their daily prayer routines and obligations to the house - either you'll be able to follow with the rhythm or not. I find it entrancing and uplifting - these men are essentially praying for not just themselves but for 'us' - if a bit randomly constructed (my only major complaint). Now if I were making a documentary about monks I'd pick those in the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren ... those guys make one Godlike brew.