Directed by Martin Scorsese
‘Silence’ is not a film that one might have “fun” watching, but it would be an enriching experience. The film follows two Jesuit priests traveling to Japan during a time when Christianity is banned and its followers persecuted in order to find a priest rumored to have renounced his faith. Eschewing the black and white, villain and victim mentality of current religious films, Silence opts for nuance. Missionary work, martyrdom, and the idea of faith are explored from multiple angles, and there is no easy answer. Even the Japanese inquisitor, who could easily be portrayed as a heartless villain, is a fully developed character- he has nothing against Christianity on a personal level, but sees his work as protecting Japan from Western influences and imperialism. As one can guess by the subject, the film is not an easy watch, but it is masterfully made and one that will stay with you long after you watch it, regardless of your own beliefs. Scorsese has already made some great films about religion and faith (‘The Last Temptation of Christ’, ‘Kundun’), and this is a worthy addition to the canon. ‘Silence’ was Scorsese’s passion project for 30 years – it will be remembered as one of his masterpieces.
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