Mount Athos is perhaps one of the most fascinating places on Earth yet little is known about it and the monastic community living there.
Some could arguably say Mount Athos is a living museum, filled with medieval fortress-like churches, artefacts and fully inhabited by a men-only society who lives by ancient traditions.
Never being a place of interest for the mass tourism and barely ever having any attention in the press, does not come as a surprise. The truth be told this was well premeditated for centuries. It is this secrecy that helped Mount Athos preserve a micro-society that lives by medieval rules to this day.
Having all ties with the outside world cut for centuries made the unstoppable marching of time have a different tempo in Athos. From the large stone walls of the buildings, the way the inhabitants dress, speak, work and act, even the food recipes and the means of transportation are something that a modern person will consider of the past.
Today, and it has always been this way, Mount Athos is inhabited by a community of monks living by the strictest rules of Orthodox Christianity. For them, everything they do seems utterly normal.
For someone from the outside, it is a completely fascinating world, different in so many ways to what we perceive as normal. However, few were those who have witnessed these wonders.
A few incursions have been made during the last few decades, however, those were superficial. Some of the most fundamental principles of a monk are to run away from the outside world, to live in obscurity.
Therefore, any attempt at making a documentary on Mount Athos has been in a direct conflict with those principles. A lot is known about the history of the place but very little about the monks themselves and their way of life.
Andrei Oprescu, the filmmaker, has spent an extensive amount of time living together with the monks, gaining their trust in order to be able to reveal a perspective that was never captured on camera before.