Saturday, June 30, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Is it possible to find a movie both engrossing and boring at the same time? Or to thoroughly enjoy a movie, but never want to see it again?
For me (Ryan), Into Great Silence brought about a conflicting rage of emotions. I’m glad to have seen it, but I wouldn’t want to see it again. While the movie is captivating in its own way, it moves at glacial speed. It is certainly not for everyone. Those looking for sex, violence and explosions would best look elsewhere.
For those unfamiliar with the premise of this movie it is an examination of life inside the Grande Chartreuse, the head monastery of the reclusive Carthusian Order in France. Those well versed in monastic orders will recognize the Carthusians as a strict and studious order.
While this movie isn’t strictly medieval, it does give the best look inside a Carthusian monastery that most are likely to ever see. It’s hard to imagine that life at Grande Chartreuse has changed too much since the days of yore.
Now, what were my feelings? Good question. Let me say that the tag line for this movie (Silence, Repetition, Rhythm) is the most apt I’ve ever seen. There is very little dialogue in this movie. English? No. The only words spoken are in either French, German or Latin.
Additionally there is very little sound. The only sounds we hear are the natural rhythms of life in Grande Chartreuse: the footsteps of monks, chanting, dripping water, rain, wind, creaks, nature. These sounds come together to form an enchanting hushed soundtrack for the film. I’ve never sat in a quieter theater. The entire audience eventually becomes engulfed in the silence of the film. Even after it had ended, individuals were reluctant to utter a sound. The rhythm of the film lulls the audience into a near meditative state.
Moreover the film focuses on various brothers in the order. I was struck not by their otherworldliness, but rather by their humanity. I had pictured such men are paradigms of their faith, saints among men. But they are not saints, they are men. Periodically the camera focuses tightly on the faces of these men. We witness a range of emotions ranging from boredom to humility to embarrassment. We witness snippets of their daily lives. Like any other life, a range of experience occurs. They play, they laugh, they pray, they work, they toil, they suffer. They are human.
At the same time as I was awestruck by the movie, I was bored by it. At a run time of 169 minutes it felt long. There were times when I was watching my watch more than the film itself.
So how should I grade this movie? On one hand it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. A film of shocking beauty and simplicity. A film which made me feel actual emotion. On the other hand, it was slow, even boring in places. I’ve never felt more conflicted about a movie. It has my fullest recommendation. But if you wish to see it, it will likely be without me. Once is enough.
MSCU Rating: ?
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The priory dates back to 1235 when Rohese de Verdon founded the building for Augustinian canonesses.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
The fresco dates from around 1300, Mahlknecht said.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
My name is Madeleine Gubbels and I will be entering my fifth and final year at UVic this September. I am the Vice President for the Medieval Studies Course Union.
My interest in Medieval Studies began somewhat in eighth grade Socials, but remained latent until I took Hist 236 in my first year of university. I liked the intellectual challenge the field offered me, as well as its comprehensiveness, so after three years of academic wandering I finally settled on my major.
I love the history found in the Middle Ages. It is fascinating and rich in material. Taking Medieval Studies has not been simply an education in history, but an education in culture. I have learned about art, architecture, philosophy, law, classical antiquity, music, literature, languages, manuscripts and calligraphy, agriculture, war and conquests, religion and theology, society, and daily medieval life during my studies of the Middle Ages. Meeting the great (and lesser) minds and hearts of the medieval centuries, albeit at times anonymous, is thrilling.
My main areas of interest in Medieval Studies are the history of the preservation and transmission of knowledge, monastic and mendicant history, hagiography, and the development of Christianity. I am interested in doing further research in both the history of the Sacraments and the role of women in medieval society.
My favourite course at UVic has been Hist 380D: Individual, Family, and Community in Medieval Society. It is being offered this year again, and I highly recommend it. It is an excellent course in social history that examines especially marriage, the family, and the role of women and children.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
These are links that you can`t find in just any old place. I`d particularly recommend the Medieval Studies Library Resource; it`s a treasure trove of links and images and would be the perfect way to start researching an essay.
Whether you`re looking for an fun and education way to spend a few hours or looking to start an essay, the MSCU blog has the link for you.
This article was found on http://blog.pecia.fr/. If you have time you should give this blog a look. It's devoted to Medieval manuscripts and book culture and is rather fascinating. The only problem is that it's most in French, the anglophones among us may have trouble with it.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
This week's word: hylemorphism
This word is derived from the Greek hylo- meaning "substance or matter" and morphous meaning "form." The word means, "that which has both matter and substance."
This word relates to the philosophy of St Augustine. He believed in the doctrine of universal hylemorphism. Literally, the phrase means that everything is composed/constituted of both form and matter. This belief forms the basis of the Augustinian/Franciscan school of thought in the Middle Ages.
This belief has profound philosophical implications. If you care to know more I'd suggest picking up Frederick's Copleston's A History of Philosophy, Vol. 2, Part 2: Medieval Philosophy. Or you could also take Phil. 305 with Dr E.W. Kluge offered next year as a year-long course (plus it counts for Medi credits).
When you look for it, there's actually quite a bit of Medievally inspired fashion out there. This Book of Hours handbag is one such example of the Middle Ages influencing modern fashion.
And if you'd rather work on more authentic projects there is always a market for replica Medieval costumes and clothing. A simple Internet search turns up dozens of websites which sell such replicas, here's one for example: http://www.mwart.com/
So if you have an interest in fashion, the Middle Ages can prove a fruitful muse indeed.