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Lovers of the Night and The Silent Order

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Streaming now through January 5

While the year 2020 draws to a close, Anna Frances Ewert’s genial Lovers of the Night details the daily lives and viewpoints, values, and hopes of seven engaging Trappist monks living in a monastery in rural Kildare, Ireland. Her film is accompanied by The Silent Order, a short from seventy years earlier about a different group of cloistered monastics in County Tipperary. With thanks to the Irish Film Institute, IFI Irish Film Archive, and Culture Ireland.

Lovers of the Night

Filmmaker Anna Frances Ewert paid regular visits to a rural Cistercian monastery in County Kildare, Ireland, eventually forming fast friendships with the seven Trappist monks who inhabit the place. She filmed them, her camera noting their modern yet modest surroundings and the monks’ day-to-day routines that sustain the ancient spiritual community—gardening, cooking, cleaning, tending cattle, praying. Far from somber or subdued, the monks are warm and heartening, and willing to share with her many surprising, even comical, details about their lives both past and present.

Above all, however, Ewert records the monks’ wise and pragmatic philosophies of life. “There’s a lot we have in common, even if we ourselves are not religious, yet we might share a longing to live fully. . . . I feel the monks are not so different, and that’s what I wanted to highlight—to question some preconceived notions. I think when we understand a person’s perspective, we don’t judge so quickly. And for me this is where the power of documentaries lie, they go beyond the mind and the intellect.”  (Anna Frances Ewert, 2018, 57 minutes)

The Silent Order

Filmed shortly after World War II, The Silent Order records the lives of Trappist monks living inside the 12th-century Monastery of the Holy Cross, Roscrea, County Tipperary, as they quietly go about their business as farmers, scholars, artists, and writers—evoking 10 centuries of a shifting social, political, and religious landscape in the heart of Ireland.  With thanks to the Irish Film Institute, IFI Irish Film Archive, and Culture Ireland. (George Fleischmann, 1948, 10 minutes)

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