'Into Great Silence' picked as best Euro docu

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Philip Groening's "Into Great Silence," a nearly wordless documentary on France's reclusive Carthusian Order of monks, has been picked as this year's best European documentary, the European Film Academy announced Tuesday.

A jury of three EFA members -- German director Thomas Riedelsheimer, Bulgarian producer-director Adela Peeva and Polish producer Dorota Roszkowska -- chose Groening's film from among eight short-list nominees.

Decades in the making, "Into Great Silence" follows the daily routines of the monks, who have taken vows of silence.

"Philip Groening's thoughtful film touches on the mystic quality of belief and our need for stillness and silence in contrast to modern life," the jury said in a statement explaining its decision. "It appears that the director, with a lot of patience, gained the trust of this enclosed community and returned with amazing images and sounds. 'Into Great Silence' is a great film about humanity and our shared European background."

"Into Great Silence" premiered in Sundance, where it won a special jury prize. The film has since become a crossover hit in several European territories.

Groening will receive the 2006 EFA Documentary award Dec. 2 at the European Film Awards in Warsaw, Poland.
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