Silence (Martin Scorsese – 2016) A-

Set in the 17th century Japan this is a horrifying and brutal film about faith. Two Jesuit priests go looking for a missing  mentor. He, along with many others, are missionaries trying to spread Catholicism in Japan.  Not an easy task and the response from the authorities there is very determined and violent. The two, played by Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, go on the terrible journey, smuggled in, hide for months on end protected by villagers who are “believers”. They witness first hand how strong these people’s faith is, they also experience betrayal and a whole lot of pain. Faith and religion change when they propagate and spread. They get hybridized and blended. One character named Kichijiro is a fascinating example of a Catholic who seems to have taken the power of confession to the extreme. How many times can one do horrible things, betray his people and then get the slate wiped clean by confession? Many times it seems. This is supposed to be based on a true story and is really one of Scorsese’s most personal films it feels. The struggle of balancing the guilt with faith and hoping that there is a God out there who is listening (in this case a Christian God) is a theme in his films. Here, it is front and center. It’s not a fun movie to watch but it is an excellent one.

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2 thoughts on “Silence (Martin Scorsese – 2016) A-”

  1. Good morning and Happy Easter to you and your family as well. Yes, this is a brutal movie about some brutal times when a brutal contact between Christianity and Shintoism took place. Martin Scorsese does not give us any respite to recoup our breath when we watched it with my cinematographer son in a movie theater( I wish we had done it a t home with the possibility of pausing it to go to the bathroom or simply to weep in silence) we were deeply moved. Nonetheless it is also a great tribute to those hardy peninsular Jesuit priests that were determined to spread the Gospel in totally unforgiving circumstances; the fact that one of the last scenes shows the priest’s hand clutching the only reliquary he had clandestinely kept all those years of forced conversion is a testament of an enduring faith. May God Almighty bless you and your family with peace and prosperity.
    Au revoir.

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