This is just a note to thank everyone who came to last night’s film screening of No Greater Love in Swedenborg Hall. The director Michael Whyte was also very good to attend, despite being struck down with cold! We had an audience of over 100 people (the picture on the left was taken before the screening, so imagine the seats with people on them), and everyone applauded this unique insight into the life of the Most Holy Trinity Monastery, in the atmospheric surroundings of Swedenborg Hall.
Michael Whyte lives across the square from the convent in Notting Hill, and had always been intrigued by what goes on behind the emphatically-closed doors. He introduced No Greater Love by describing his attempts, over a period of ten years, to persuade the Carmelite nuns to let him in. After a decade of pleading notes and polite rejection letters, the nuns wrote back to say that they had taken a democratic vote and would allow him to film within their walls. He promised to show them everything he recorded, and the nuns were free to veto any scene in the resulting film. It is this film which we were lucky enough to watch in Swedenborg Hall last night.
After the screening of No Greater Love, Michael Whyte returned to the front to answer questions from the audience. He admitted that the nuns were far warmer and more worldly than he had expected; that he went in and out of the convent for one year and found it very difficult to leave; and that he was hugely impressed by their lifestyles and felt honoured to witness practices and visit places which are barred even to a bishop.
Both the questions and answers after the screening reflected the intelligence, humour and frankness of the film itself. We hope you all enjoyed the evening as much as we did. The next screening in Swedenborg Hall will be on May 14th, featuring the wonderful new film Patience (After Sebald) (Grant Gee, 2012) 4. A blog post on this will follow soon… In the meantime please read about the event on our website.