In Pursuit of Silence

Synopsis: In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative film about our relationship with silence and the impact of noise on our lives. In our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. From the Desert Fathers of the third century AD who became the model for Christian monasticism to John Cage's seminal work 4'33" which would go onto inspire a generation of artists, humankind has had a long fascination with silence. In Pursuit of Silence will be the first comprehensive look at this topic whose many dimensions lie at the heart of so much of human progress. Offering audiences a contemplative cinematic experience, the sights and sounds of this film will work its way through frantic minds, into the quiet spaces of hearts, and help shape a new vision of being.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Patrick Shen
  2 wins & 3 nominations.
81 min










I was lucky to

live in a house

when I was growing up

as a child

that was located

in quite a silent location.

There was also a good view

out of my bedroom window.

And I guess, as a young child,

I fell in love with it.

But I didn't know

what that meant at all.

I didn't even know what it was,

to be honest.

So, how do you talk coherently

about silence?

You could talk about silence...

Does it exist

in a decibel sense?

A noise sense,

or a lack of noise sense?

And the literature is clear that

silence doesn't exist

in that sense.


The etymological roots

of the word for silence

are somewhat contested.

There are two words

in particular

that people go back to.

There's the Gothic

term ana-silan,

and then desinere.

One of them has to do with

the wind dying down

and the other has to do with

a kind of stopping of motion.

They're both to do with an

interruption, not just of sound,

but the roots of silence

are also to do with

the interruption of our own...

The imposition of our own egos

on the world.


Almost all of

the early theologians

talk about the ultimate

worship of God is silence.

And that God dwells in

the silence of eternity.


The history of monastic life

is as old as the history

of the human race.

I think the whole history

of shamans

is a history of

a kind of proto-monasticism

where someone in the tribe

has clearly, evidently,

a facility with silence

and a facility

with understanding the unspoken

processes of the world.


Retreating from

the cacophony of the world

is stepping towards

everything that's essential.

It's about stepping

towards the world

and really about learning

how to love the world again.


solitude has always had

an exalted place in our culture

and it's really only recently

that it has fallen from grace

and now needs to be restored

to its rightful place.

You look at all

the religious traditions,

Buddha, Jesus and

Mohammed, Moses,

these were all seekers

who would go off into the woods,

think their thoughts,

have their revelations,

and then come back

and share those revelations

with the wider world.

We lose a lot

when we don't allow people...

Not just allow,

but encourage people

to go off by themselves.

You know, whether literally into

the woods, or metaphorically,

to just go

and chart your own journey

and do it by yourself.

There are certain paths

in this life

that you've got to walk alone

and that's the only way

to do them.





Through Zen, you need to feel

the silence with your body,

experience it every day,

and then it becomes part of you.

That is what practicing Zen

is about.

That is the life with Zen.

You honestly

and genuinely

live everyday life

through silence.

It's not like you are just

being silent and do nothing.



Would you tell

our panel, please,

what your name is

and where you're from?

My name is John Cage.

I'm from Stony Point, New York.

He is probably the

most controversial figure

in the musical world today

and when you hear

his performance,

if you'll forgive me,

you will understand why.

The instruments

that he will use

include a water pitcher,

an iron pipe,

a goose call, a bathtub,

five radios all hooked up

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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