I`m delighted to be able to report that there was a full house at the Tyneside cinema last night for the North East premier of this film. I met two other priests and a nun from the diocese there too. I suppose in the 1950`s it would have been difficult to see the screen for the rows of nuns wimples, assuming they would have been allowed to go to the cinema! The three hours flew by. This is a beautiful film and an interesting insight into the life of the Carthusians of La Grande Chartreuse. The monastery itself, as the headquarters of the order was more austere than I expected when compared to the Charterhouse of Granada for example. I was interested that no reference was made to the Chartreuse liqueur, which I thought was made there, nor to the motto of the order about never being reformed because never deformed.
One of my favourite scenes was in the first recreation sequence when discussion arose over whether to continue the tradition of the monks washing their hands before entering the refectory. Some were in favour of dropping the practice. Indeed it was remarked that in one monastery they hadn`t washed their hands in twenty years! One monk said that rather than questions the symbols of monastic life they should let the symbols question them. I thought that was good and hoped it was a young monk who said it. (It was impossible to see who was talking at that point.) There were some insights into the interior life of the monk, mostly by the repetition of the quotation from Jeremiah 20.7. The reading of the rule in the refectory was a useful way to explain some aspects of the routine.
All in all if you haven`t seen this film it is well worth going to see.