Martin’s Scorsese’s film Silence is an intensely powerful film which forces to us look deep within ourselves: faith, purpose, emotions, morality and the choices we make. The film is a sensorial experience that needs to be relished with a personalized dose of reflection and contemplation.
We all known Scorsese as a master-director who has rarely made a bad film. He studied to become a priest, but luckily for us film-buffs, he unleashed his talents upon the world of movie-making. Unlike his other films about crime, mafia, showbiz and glitz, this film seems intensely personal.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
The film is based on the 1966 novel by Shûsaku Endô. In 17th century Japan, where Christianity was forbidden, intrepid Jesuits priests sought to spread their faith. The film poses many questions surrounding faith, religious conversion, and the (lack of) omnipresence of god. It is almost Buddhist in spirit: the soul of a seeker looking for an answer.
THE MAIN CHARACTER(S):
Two padres from Portugal (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) look for their mentor (Liam Neeson) who is supposed to have committed apostasy by stepping on the image of Christ, under duress from local Japanese officials. Issei Ogata plays an official in charge of eradicating Christianity from Japan and he torments the priests with extreme torture and humiliation.
Garfield excels in bearing all the punishment and pondering over the meaning and mercy of god. Is god indifferent to suffering? Can a man renounce god and still find a way to salvation? There are references to Christ suffering on the cross. There are many more questions, including some from the Japanese point of view: why should I stop believing in my god? I am perfectly happy with him.
The movie is a prayer to silence. Instead of music it uses sea-waves, wind in the grass, crackling firewood, burning flesh and other such nuances to establish the setting required for deep reflection. The movie is a visual beauty which appears to magnify the contrast of the sufferings depicted in the film. No wonder that it was an Oscar nominee for Best Achievement in Cinematography.
If you enjoy reflective, soul-searching sagas that question the purpose of life on earth, you will not be disappointed.