In this intimate doc, we get a never-before-seen glimpse of the daily lives and rituals of the Grande Chartreuse, an 11th-century monastery inhabited by modern-day Carthusian monks, whose vows of silence and poverty guide them to a state of profound inner holiness.
Whether tending the grounds, feeding the cats, or barbering each other after morning prayers, the Carthusians live a life of beautiful simplicity and austerity, untouched by the cares and demands of the outside world. Philip Groning waited 16 years for permission to film these pious men, and then spent six months in their wordless company, filming alone and only with available light. Shunning music and voiceover narration, Groning’s observational style is as pure as the monks’ lifestyle of work and prayer, seducing us into appreciating their private mode of worship. Watching “Silence,” we become more than spectators, but acolytes in a contemplative practice of spiritual peace.