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Endō, a Japanese Christian who struggled with how the Western mantle of his religion fit over his innate Easternness, set his story during a time when a newly unified Japan was viciously cracking down on Christians with persecutions and torture, forcing believers into hidden communion.
The subject matter alone, at a running time of over two-and-a-half hours, is likely to ward off plenty who’d rather see him deal with matters more profane than sacred.That isn’t always a good thing, but it mostly is: it’s an invitingly austere movie, designed for both searching believers and curious others.The film can be cinematically rigorous, but it’s never ritualistically flashy.Secretly ensconced in a mountainside hut, and tending to wretched yet hopeful “kirishitan” (hidden Christians) grateful for the outlawed Catholic rituals (baptisms, confessions) they offer under cover of night, the pair struggle with impatience and hardship but thrive in another sense: the villagers’ neediness renews them.ROME — Martin Scorsese’s passion project “Silence,” about Portuguese Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan, is set to be screened at the Vatican this month for an audience comprising several hundred Jesuit priests, ahead of its initial U. has learned that the screening is almost certainly scheduled for Nov. The Vatican is known to promote faith-based films in various ways.Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg and Vera Farmiga, the gangster film and story of its making are filled with little known facts.
The wait for Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel “Silence,” about a pair of Portuguese missionaries on dangerous footing in Christian-unfriendly 17th century Japan, has been so long that the eventual offering has an unmistakably devotional air.
News of the Vatican “Silence” screening was first reported by The New York Times, based on an interview with Scorsese. It is considered unlikely, though not impossible, that Pope Francis, a Jesuit himself, will be in the audience.
The Vatican screening, which is the long-gestating film’s de facto world premiere, is likely to have been sought, and certain to be welcomed, by Paramount.
“Silence” is the largest, most serious-minded examination of faith since Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” rounding out a trilogy on the subject from the director of “Kundun” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.” At the core of “Silence” lies the dilemma: What does it mean to apostatize?
Though the screenplay (which Scorsese adapted with Jay Cocks, his collaborator on “The Age of Innocence” and “Gangs of New York”) intends for us to consider this question on some deep teleological level, the film would do well to engage with it first in more literal terms.
While it’s not unusual for new faith-based films to screen in Vatican City for audiences largely made up by clergy, it’s rare for the Vatican to become the first place where an upcoming Hollywood release gets its first public screening.