Elevate Difference

Into the Field

The focus of Into the Field is the secular lives of the women living in the Romanian monastery, Varatec, rather than their spiritual ones. The everyday life of nuns is skimmed over by filmmaker Alyssa Grossman. Presumably, Varatec is as self-sustaining as possible due to its isolated location, and there are many shots of nuns working in the fields. Living in small groups in private homes gives them a rather dual identity that may be denied an order which lives solely inside abbey walls.

I was fascinated by the ways in which the church fulfills these women’s need for community and family; when asked, they are quite vehement in their assertion that they have no desire to be married. Neither do they wish to live apart from their community. Though the work is physically tough and seems endless, the Romanian nuns seem quite content. Certainly after working in the field for up to ten years as an act of obedience, they are committed to their chosen destiny.

Grossman includes some brief sequences of stop-motion animation that are distracting. They add nothing to the quality or theme of the film and are self-indulgent and seem to be the work of a high school student rather than a doctoral candidate. She may have intended them to be an internal commentary about her frustration in making of the film. I believe the piece would have been much stronger without them.

Written by: Pamela Crossland, March 23rd 2007