“sÃ¥ som i himmelen”…”wie im himmel”…”as it is in heaven”

what’s happened to us? another night at the movies! a colleague from germany had recommended wie im himmel (english title: as it is in heaven)…at first it seemed a bit brutal, to say the least, and i was wondering about my colleague’s taste — but once the real action starts (daniel returning back to the village where he was born) the movie starts to really unfold and takes you on an emotional roller-coaster-ride — and has some very pointed dialogues about living one’s life instead of being lived and instead of being locked in by we’ve-always-done-it-this-way-no-need-to-change-it-now-or-ever.

we liked it very much.

20 years later…

we’ve been in northern germany back at my parents place over the weekend, taking the 9:01 train from erlangen to nürnberg, then the 9:39 ICE to hannover, and finally the 12:45 from hannover to delmenhorst — where we are picked up by my father and given a lift to my parents place in hoykenkamp.

the reason for our trip north: the 20th anniversary of my “abitur” (i.e., high school graduation or GCE-A levels) class. the whole event had been meticulously planned by a couple of former class mates and we even have our own web site!

the evening was quite interesting…the “event” itself took place in the kämmerei, the old wool-carding place of the old nordwolle spinning works, long since turned into a pub. some of us have changed quite a bit (which, i think, is a good think), some of us have not changed a single iota (which in some cases was a bit…how shall i put it…shocking?). in any case it was good and fun reconnecting 20 years later.

“die grosse stille”…”into great silence”

went out tonight to watch a movie — which in itself is rare, as we rather watch “new” movies on DVD at home than go and sit with 50, 100, or even 200 other people in a more or less (un)comfortable seat, with a guaranteed tall person to come in at the last minute and take the seat(s) in front of you.

what was unusual about this movie was that it was shown inside the university church, the neustädter kirche, that it was shown using digital projection (not a beamer!, we were told), and the movie itself: die grosse stille (or into great silence).

the movie is about the life of the monks of the carthusian order and in particular about life in the mother abbey, the monastery of the grand chartreuse. it starts almost in silence, and we watch a carthusian monks as he prays. the only sound we can hear is the crackling of the wood-burning stove. eventually the screen switches to a closeup of snow-flakes swirling outside the monastery before slowly immersing itself (and us with it) into the carthusian life.

the trailer is very misleading: essentially they have just taken “action scenes” from into great silence. the movie itself is very much different. there’s no commentary. there’s no musical soundtrack, the only sounds we get to hear are the sounds of everyday life in the monastery: monks chanting, the sounds of hair being razed off, steps in a hallway,… a “scene” can take minutes, without much happening.

this all sounds rather boring…it’s not (and i’m not the person enjoying watching water come to the boil, not really). you have to be able to stand silence. this movie will force you to reflect on yourself and what you believe in, to reflect on what you think is important and why. into great silence very subtly takes you by your hand and while your still wondering what this movie is about, you are already captured; you are already wondering what those monks are thinking about, what they are contemplating about; you are already taking part in a two and a half hour meditation…

watch it — if you are up to it.