I'm in a hotel room in Ft. Wayne, IN after a long day in airports. No time for a full review, but I wanted to recommend the documentary making its way through art theaters, Into Great Silence.
Or, at least, I wanted to recommend the first two hours of the film. It's really rather too long, and there isn't much added to the point of the film in the additional hour that made it worth having us all sit there. The lady I was with fell asleep somewhere between hour 1.5 and hour 2. (Actually, it is the second hour of the film that needs to be cut. It just basically repeats the things we see in the first hour. Then, the third hour adds some new images and ideas.
Having said that, it is lovely in many respects. Definitely peaceful and ethereal. It doesn't answer any questions, which I am still wondering about, in light of the fact that most people know nothing about the whys and wherefores of religious life. But, clearly, the filmmaker was trying to strictly control his project and keep it from being an intellectual exercise in favor of a more felt experience.
It so well conveys the austerity of the Cistercians, that I found myself eating my popcorn quieter...almost guiltily!
Serious Catholics will feel proud and love it. Other Christians will be in kind of awe of it...and maybe secretly wonder what is with the Catholics anyway?! Pagans will probably go the gamut from being bored to annoyed. Some L.A. pagans will be impressed at how 'almost Buddhist' some of those Catholics are.
I recommend it. But be warned, it's long.