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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Heaven   » 'Silence', a film by Martin Scorsese

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Source: (consider it) Thread: 'Silence', a film by Martin Scorsese
SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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This thread will certainly contain SPOILERS


Has anyone else seen this film yet? Anyone got any comments to share?

I saw it the other day (as a birthday treat, although it's hardly birthday fare) and it was actually better than I was expecting. It was long, but didn't feel excessively so.

The acting was superb, and the director's vision ably realised. But his vision didn't gel with me in the end. There's no denying, though, that this tale of religious torture and apostasising RC priests in 17th c. Japan provided much food for thought.

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Mamacita

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This excellent article in the NY Times about the making of the film may be of interest.

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It gets darker and darker and darker, and then Jesus is born. (Wendell Berry)

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Gamaliel
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I've read the novel. I was impressed with that. I'd like to see the film but wonder whether it will 'spoil' the novel ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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MaryLouise
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Thanks for that NYT link, Mamacita.I'm hoping this Scorcese film has a little Kurosawa magic in it.

I read Silence and Endo's collection of short stories, Stained Glass Elegies, some years ago and the fascination with apostasy reminded me not just Graham Greene but the work of Paul Claudel and François Mauriac. Powerful writing but too much gloom and angst, it seemed to me then.

It's good timing for a film looking at Christians living under persecution in missionary territories. Reading that NYT review, I'd forgotten about the drunken reprobate and failure Kichijiro quoted by Scorcese as saying:

‘Where is the place for a weak person in the world we’re in? Why wasn’t I born when there wasn’t any persecution? I would have been a great Christian.’ 

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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SvitlanaV2
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I'm not keen on that quote, actually. Who can say they'd be a 'great Christian' under different circumstances? How would they know? How many of us living in freedom and plenty are 'great Christians'?

It wasn't so much the apostasy that made me uneasy in the film - I mean, most of us would probably apostasise under those conditions - but the message that it's okay to choose to live without God thereafter.

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MaryLouise
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I read the quotation as ironic: to be able to present oneself as 'a great Christian' in the absence of trial or persecution is hardly an achievement.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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leo
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My take on the novel and why saints are flawed heroes.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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SvitlanaV2
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Thanks for posting your review of the book. As usual, it would seem that the book of the film brings much more depth to the topic.

Japanese fears about Christianity as a conduit for Western imperialism aren't really explained in the film, so the urgent cruelty towards RC converts doesn't make a lot of sense from a political perspective.

Moreover, at one point we're told that Christianity and Buddhism are very similar; at another the chief inquisitor says that Christianity is unable to flourish in Japanese soil. These comments are contradictory, and again, neither gives much weight to the need for persecution. Why would reasonable men (which is how the inquisitors are portrayed) execute poor peasants who've joined a weak and unexceptional religion?

Mind you, the idea seems to have been to destroy not the peasants themselves, but the foreign priests. That's very clever. But I couldn't understand why these men didn't just leave Japan after their dreadful experience. Why not sneak away to a country where they could practise their faith? What more could they do spiritually for Japan? Yes, they were ashamed of their apostasy, but they needn't have returned to Portugal. Were they forbidden to leave Japan so they could exist as symbols of the inadequacy of Christianity?

The book probably explains most of this, but the film doesn't.

[ 08. January 2017, 14:45: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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