Liam Neeson has been cast in Martin Scorsese‘s next film, Silence. Neeson and Scorsese hmmm sounds like a hell of a movie!
The film is based on Shusaku Endo’s novel about 17th century Jesuits who to try bring Christianity to isolated Japan. Scorsese has been trying to make this movie since 1991, so it’s great that he’s finally getting to do it.
Garfield plays “Father Rodrigues, a 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit who travels to Japan with a fellow priest amid rumors that Rodrigues’ mentor has abandoned the Church. It is a moment of religious persecution in the Asian nation, with Christians forced to practice their faith clandestinely. Watanabe will portray the priests’ interpreter.” As for Neeson he will play the mentor, Fr. Cristóvão Ferreira.
Young Portuguese Jesuit, Sebastião Rodrigues (based on the historical figure Giuseppe Chiara) is sent to Japan to succor the local Church and investigate reports that his mentor, Fr. Cristóvão Ferreira, has committed apostasy. (Ferreira is a historical figure, who apostatized after torture and later became a Zen monk and wrote a treatise against Christianity.)
Fr. Rodrigues and his companion Fr. Francisco Garrpe arrive in Japan in 1638. There they find the local Christian population driven underground. Security officials force suspected Christians to trample on fumie, which are crudely carved images of Christ. Those who refuse are imprisoned and killed by anazuri (穴吊り), being hung upside down over a pit and slowly bled. Those Christians who do step on the image to stay hidden are deeply shamed by their act of apostasy. The novel relates the trials of the Christians and increasing hardship suffered by Rodrigues, as more is learnt about the circumstances of Ferreira’s apostasy. Finally, Rodrigues is betrayed by the Judas-like Kichijiro. In the climax, as Rodrigues looks upon a fumie, Christ breaks his silence:
“Yet the face was different from that on which the priest had gazed so often in Portugal, in Rome, in Goa and in Macau. It was not Christ whose face was filled with majesty and glory; neither was it a face made beautiful by endurance to pain; nor was it a face with strength of a will that has repelled temptation. The face of the man who then lay at his feet [in the fumie] was sunken and utterly exhausted…The sorrow it had gazed up at him [Rodrigues] as the eyes spoke appealingly: ‘Trample! Trample! It is to be trampled on by you that I am here.'”