(2021, 31 minutes, 4K)
DAY OF A STRANGER is an intimate portrait of world-renowned Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, during his final years living as a hermit from 1965 to his untimely death in 1968. Interweaving meditative images of his hermitage nestled deep in the woods of Kentucky and rare audio recordings he made as a hermit; the film pieces together a first-person narrative of one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant minds.
This film explores the final years of Merton’s life when he moved to a hermitage on his monastery property. While there, he continued to write, take photos, and even record audio that included excerpts from his journal, thoughts within the day, and more. The film pieces together footage from his hermitage alongside some never before heard audio which our team gained exclusive access to.
From 1965 until his death in 1968, Merton lived in this small hermitage on the Gethsemani Abbey property in the woods of central Kentucky. The film focuses on this specific time period and the important work that emerged from this tiny cabin in the woods.
“Sermon to the birds: ‘Esteemed friends, birds of noble lineage, I have no message to you except this: be what you are: be birds. Thus you will be your own sermon to yourselves!’ Reply: ‘Even this is one sermon too many!’”–THOMAS MERTON (DAY OF A STRANGER, P.51)
ABOUT THE TITLE
In May of 1965, the earliest draft of one of Thomas Merton’s most beloved essays was written: Day of a Stranger. The essay was published in Latin America as a response to a journalist’s question about what a typical day in the life was like for Merton in his new hermitage home. Unbeknownst to Merton or the journalist that this would be his final home and “Dia de un Extrano,” (Day of a Stranger) was published in Papeles, a journal from Caracas, Venezuela in July of 1966 (also published in The Hudson Review in the summer of 1967).