Ridiculous & Sublime:
Life in an Inner-City Franciscan Monastery

Directed by Maureen Cotton
Visit Film Site: ridiculousandsublime.com
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“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others remains.” -Albert Pike

Ridiculous and Sublime, is a feature length still image film that explores the lives of the Little Brohers of Saint Francis, a small Catholic monastery in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. A still-image film puts photographs into motion instead of using moving picturees. This film is an artful integration of black and white photographs, scanned from negatives, and audio recordings of interviews, chanting, prayer, and daily life in the monastery- all weaved together with original music.

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ridiculous-and-sublime_still_02Ridiculous & Sublime will be an intimate portrait of a community that is impressive in its authentic living of the Christian Gospel and endearing in its ordinariness and humility. The Brothers’ lives are filled with dynamic dualities as they live out the virtues of the medieval Saint Francis of Assisi within a modern and urban landscape. They have no personal money, rise at 4:30 a.m. for the first communal prayer, and wear a rope with three knots that represent their vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience. But they also order pizza, ride the subway, and sometimes have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. One could hear a pin drop during their hour-long silent Eucharistic meditation, if not for the Roxbury Crossing subway train that rolls by and rattles the chapel windows.

Above all, the Brothers seek to serve God through a balance of direct religious contemplation and service to their fellow man. Their twofold purpose shapes the varied activities of daily life in the monastery. Each day the Brothers visit with their friends and neighbors, including the poor and homeless, offering what assistance they can; meanwhile, they reserve significant time for contemplation through mass, communal prayer, personal prayer, and meditation.

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Maureen Cotton’s
interest in multi-media production grew out of her passion for photography. Pursuing media arts at Emerson College, she saw the power of context on an image’s meaning, which inspired her to design her own Bachelor of Arts degree program. Visual Communication and Design explored several interconnected fields: photography, film, print design, new media design, and art and media history.

She has been an in-house photographer and new media designer for Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and a videographer, producer, and editor for public television. At present, Maureen works independently as a photographer and graphic designer. Ridiculous & Sublime is her first film. www.maureencotton.com.

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