Two and a half hours long, largely close to silent, and filled with the stark loveliness of a life spent in the Carthusian order of monks, Into Great Silence is not a film for everyone. I love it. It's soothing in its very simplicity, comforting in its good will, organic in its rhythms.
And of course my favorite scene is the one where the barn cats get fed.
To fully understand why I like it so, you must know that this monastic order incorporates a vow of silence, very rarely broken. So when one of the older monks takes a tub of food to the barn and begins to encourage them with soft chirrups, I took notice. Then he went over to a wire hook that held a blue teddy bear, another thing these monks don't tend to have kicking around, and waggled it at the cats, who orbited the toy with indecision. He put it down and one came over to sniff it: "He is the boss," the monk said in French, smiling.
So the love of little creatures led this monk, and by extension his monastic community, to provide food to nourish their bodies, and a toy for the refreshment of their kitty souls. He even spoke aloud to make one short explanation. One could wonder if they were in a way adjunct members of the community. I found this a most touching look at the spiritual dimension of four footed creatures, whether intended as such or no.
For those of you who wish to find this scene quickly, it's scene #6 on the DVD. You can find many reviews online, but here's The New York Times'. Alas, I can't find a clip of the cats!