That same connecting phrase has several forms:
- "...far from..."
- "...far from being..."
- "...a far cry from..."
Here are some examples:
- The academy is far from calm.
- The academy is far from being a calm place of study.
- The academy is a far cry from a calm place of study.
To say that something is "far from" is to say that its meaning, reality, or qualities are very different from something else.
Here is the general form of the phrase:
[one thing] is far from [its opposite]
[one thing] is far from being [its opposite]
[one thing] is a far cry from [its opposite]
If a child was told to be quiet but keeps yelling, an adult may come in and say:
"It is far from quiet in here."
If a person was told to pick up a dog as a holiday present for a child, but arrives with a cat instead, someone might say:
"That is far from being a dog."
If someone is sleeping in their car, one might say to them:
"Your car is a far cry from an apartment."
Something is "a far cry" from something else, when it is so far away in physical location that even if crying out, one could not be heard. This phrase refers to a physical distance, but is figuratively used to denote a conceptual distance. Such a conceptual distance exists when things are opposites in terms of some defining quality (e.g. day and night are opposites in terms of light, silence and noise are opposites in terms of volume, etc.).
In the case of "a far cry," the two connecting ideas may be literal or figurative:
The academy is a far cry from calm.
"Calm" is meant literally here, and the sentiment is that the academy is not calm.
The academy is a far cry from a monastery.
This is figurative. Of course the academy is not a monastery. However, the point here is figurative in that qualities that may be shown by a monastery -- calmness, quiet, studiousness, seriousness, etc. -- are not present at the academy.
AudioEnglish.org: definition of 'far cry'