This isn’t gonna be easy …
Intent on investigating the truth behind Father Cristovão Ferreira’s abrupt end of correspondence, the devout Portuguese Catholic priests, Sebastião Rodrigues and Francisco Garupe, set off to Japan, in 1633. In great disbelief, as the rumours of Ferreira’s apostasy still echo in their minds, the zealous Jesuit missionaries try to locate their mentor, amid the bloodshed of the violent anti-Christian purges. Under those circumstances, the two men and the Japanese guide, Kichijiro, arrive in Japan, only to witness firsthand the unbearable burden of those who have a different belief in a land founded on tradition. Now–as the powerful Grand Inquisitor, Inoue, performs hideous tortures on the brave Japanese Christians–Father Rodrigues will soon have to put his faith to the ultimate test: renounce it in exchange for the prisoners’ lives. There, in the ends of the world, a subtle change has begun; however, why is God’s silence so deafening?
Like every movie bum, I piratized Silence when it became available in 2016, tried to watch it but gave up after 10 minutes, bored outta my skull and impatient with the movie’s topic and slow slow pace. If I remember correctly hubby watched it completely but we never talked about it.
Anyway, since 2016 this flick lingers around in our movie archive, unloved, neglected and always in danger of being deleted in the next maniacal spring cleaning. But today, during another loadshedding measure by our state-owned electricity supplier, I watched it on my small netbook. Just to be over and done with it.
And … now my problem starts. I can not say that I enjoyed Silence, but neither did I loathe it. I wasn’t bored, but neither was I entertained. And I cannot decide if this was a pro-christian propaganda flick or a pro-Japanese, pro-Buddhism movie. Now is Martin Scorsese an American with Italian roots, so doubtlessly a devout catholic christian. But also a great filmmaker and independent and intelligent enough not to step into any of those cheap traps.
So for now, barely 10 minutes after the end titles rolled, I guess Scorsese didn’t make a film about religion and the difference between Buddhism and Christianity but in the first place about humans. About how steadfast a believe (or belief? Help me out here) is in the presence of adversity, of danger. And what is the duty of a priest towards his parish. Renounce his religion in order to save lifes, or cling to his god stubbornly. This and similar questions popped up and in my head, and I didn’t like thinking about it.
I know I’d stepped on Jesus and abdicate my religion at once, but then I’m a heathen and for me it’s an easy decision. That’s why we heathens are usally the much better people than the christians, we just don’t have to bother with hollow symbolycism. Anyway, I guess that’s not the solution Silence wanted me to reach. 😉 Silence isn’t a rough propaganda flick even if it sometimes comes across like that. It’s about the suffering of one catholic padre – Andrew Garfield in his bestest performance – and about his ultimate decision.
And now I’m kinda happy, I guess there wasn’t that much to worry about with Silence. It’s in fact a pretty simple, if fantastically cinematographed, story about right and wrong. When is being right and steadfast becoming a burden for people who put their trust, not necessarily their belief, in you? Are they needlessly dieing just because you won’t show your weakness? When becomes your strength just your egoistical vanity?
I guess we must be thankful for Mr. Scorsese not hitting us over the head with a Hollywood answer but letting the audience alone with the question. At least as a director he made a bold move by treating us as adults.
Thank you very much for that. Respect, my man. 😉
Some YouTube reviews: