Wednesday, March 14, 2007
It's the sounds that may stay with me the longest. Bells. Rain dripping. Shuffling feet. Chanting. Even snow falling. Into great Silence [see my post last month] was all and more that I had hoped for. It reminded me that if we stop hurrying, and if we simplify, we may see more clearly the wonder that is all around us. The film lingered lovingly on the apparently mundane stuff of life - the cutting of cloth, the preparation of vegetables, the washing of pots, the clearing of snow. There's a tough humility to these monks - I guess they have to be both, it's a very demanding calling - and the film didn't romanticise their way of life. There's a very powerful scene where a younk bother is tending to a old brother who has sores on his arms and back. The young man quietly, gently, lovingly massages some ointment into the old man's stretched skin.
There are some memorable moments scattered at intervals through the film where individual brothers are asked to look directly into the camera. Also some funny full-of-life moments, like a scene close to the end when, out on their [weekly?] walk in the mountains in winter, we see some of the monks attempting to slide downhill on snow shoes, falling over, laughing, going for it again.
At the end of the film there is a brief interview - the only one in the film- with an old brother who is blind. He worries that the world has forgotten God. And then speaks simply and movingly of God's goodness.