Silence

I’m astonished, even amazed, that this movie has actually been made. I can’t wait to see it.

The trailer above is for a film adaptation of Silence, a heartbreaking novel by Japanese novelist Shūsaku Endō. It tells of two seventeenth-century Jesuits who travel to Japan to help its persecuted Christians, and to investigate claims that a fellow Jesuit had publicly disowned his faith.

The novel is considered Endō’s masterpiece, but outside of literary circles, it’s mostly unknown in the West. Silence is not a fun read, and not a book that lends itself easily to film.

I’m amazed not only that a movie adaptation has been made, but that it has been made by Martin freakin’ Scorcese, a filmmaker considered one of the most significant of all time.

This movie has been his passion project for more than twenty years. Many of the cast and crew, including Mr. Scorcese, worked for minimum pay to keep the film within its budget. When a director like Scorcese waits two decades for the chance to make a movie, it’s bound to be remarkable. I hope it’s remarkably good; I suppose it could be remarkably bad. Either way, a passion project like Silence won’t be lukewarm.

Silence stars Liam Neeson in a supporting role, which is awesome. He gave a fine performance in The Mission, a film with striking similarities to Silence. He’s also, y’know, Liam freakin’ Neeson. ’Nuff said.

Silence, the novel on which the film is based, is a book near and dear to my heart. I first read it almost a decade ago for a class in high school. I realized it was something special, but didn’t know why at the time.

Well, now I know.

Silence is a powerful meditation upon the silence of God. It’s also a reflection upon the apparent incompatibility of Christianity and Japan—a poignant perspective written by a Japanese Christian whose culture was indifferent to his faith.

Japan fascinates me. More significantly, I’ve struggled to keep my own faith in a world that seems ever more incompatible with it. Silence speaks to me. (Yes, I know how odd that sounds.) The novel shall always be one of my favorites. I can’t wait to see the movie.

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