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January 15, 2008

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I'm glad you were able to see this one prior to the publishing of your list. In a practical way, I agree with the reviewers who found the monks' dedication somewhat troubling, but the way Groning filmed it, for me, removed all particulars of religion or belief, instead framing their actions as pure dedication to a higher cause (not power), which is the most I think any conscious entity can do with their life. There were times when I flirted with naming it my #1 (really, any of the top five could have made the spot). Ultimately, though, nothing proved more transcendent than being threatened by an evil gum drop with a lip ring.

I totally agree with Rob. For me, this was about the rhythms of life, and depicted total concentration on a single ideal, more than any 'religious masturbation'. Whatever you think of the monks, the film truly conveys something more profound than a simple examination of their existence.

I completely agree that it's about dedication to a single idea/cause, and in that sense it's quite entrancing. But the cause itself - and the form that said dedication takes - is still open for discussion.

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