“Silence” has been in the works since “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988). That’s what Martin Scorsese revealed after a special New York screening of his new epic drama on December 8 (watch above). After a screening of “Last Temptation” for “religious groups and civic leaders who were complaining about the film but hadn’t seen it yet” Scorsese was approached by Archbishop Paul Moore of the Episcopal Church of New York, who told the director, “Let me give you a book about faith.”
That book was “Silence” by Shusaku Endo, and after reading it Scorsese knew he wanted to make it into a film. “I knew it had something much deeper than I had imagined for even ‘Last Temptation,'” Scorsese explained, “so it took many years for me to be able to find a way to interpret the book for film.”
It tells the story of Jesuit missionaries from Portugal (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan on a perilous mission to find their mentor (Liam Neeson). Scorsese was interested in the story’s crisis of faith and the theme of “how one can be a Christian in this world.” The film doesn’t necessarily arrive at any definitive answer to that crisis, but it was helpful to the lifelong Catholic filmmaker in wrestling with those issues because “in the process of making it … we’re living it.”
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