In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Catholicism.
Release Date: January 13, 2017
Genre: Historical drama
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Silence is predicated on the actual Japanese persecutions of Christians in the early 1600s, when hundreds were martyred. Shūsaku Endō, an acclaimed Catholic Japanese novelist, originally published what's now considered his masterpiece of the same name in 1966. Director Martin Scorsese discovered the book in 1989. From that moment on, he was determined to make a movie about it. "Silence is the story of a man who learns—so painfully—that God's love is more mysterious than he knows that He leaves much more to the ways of men than we realize, and that He is always present … even in His silence," Scorsese writes in the foreword to a recent edition the book. While Silence treats Christianity respectfully, it's not easy to write a book or make a movie predicated on God's apparent absence—especially during the searing season of persecution depicted here. Nor is it easy to read or watch such a story. Rodrigues expresses his own doubts in the midst of God's silence, wondering if he prays to nothing. He struggles to discern God's will amid pain and uncertainty, where every path leads to some form of death. He wonders about God's role in it all. "Surely," Rodrigues says, "God heard [Japanese Christians'] prayers as they died. But did He hear their screams?"Click here to read the full review
No bit of Silence is an accident or an afterthought. This Martin Scorsese adaptation of a Japanese novel by Shûsaku Endô is difficult, slow and lacking in a traditionally satisfying resolution, but its strength as an adaptation and the powerful filmmaking and performances warrant 4 out of 5.Click here to read the full review
For Martin Scorsese, who co-wrote and directed, this movie has been a passion project for three decades, since the award-winning novel by Shusaku Endo, inspired by the true stories of 17th century priests in Japan. Scorsese, who once thought of becoming a priest grapples here with the big questions about the letter and the spirit in the context of a time and a faith that traditionally has put a lot of emphasis on the letter as a frame and a discipline for the spirit. It is also a faith tradition that understands suffering as a part of faith practice, whether a way to appreciate the suffering of Jesus or to test one’s faith or to better understand others’ experiences, or to earn the rewards of heaven. The gorgeous visual scope and striking images are as powerful in telling the story of the clash of culture and religion as the narrative.Click here to read the full review