Silence is Golden

I just got a ton of books in the mail and I’m anxious to devour them, but I also want to point out some amazing stuff I’ve been reading and watching.

Silence.

Description: Martin Scorsese’s Silence tells the story of two missionaries who travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor at a time when Christianity is outlawed. When they are captured, both men are plunged into an odyssey that will risk their lives.

That synopsis doesn’t really do the movie justice. What you need to know going in is that this story, at its core, is a test of faith. It revolves around a simple question: how do you know God is with you if he never talks back? How the three missionaries in the movie–Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, and Andrew Garfield–come to terms with such a difficult question is what builds the tension.

But there’s more to the story, which is what I found so fascinating. Because on the other side of the coin is a Japanese government deeply resentful and fearful of Christianity. The outstanding performances of the Japanese actors makes it easy to empathize with them, and that empathy is crucial when they go to great lengths to purge Christianity from Japan.

How does a different culture interpret Christianity? When we look at the spread of Christianity–or any other religion–we do it through a specific Euro-centric lens. We often discard cultural or linguistic differences out of ignorance, and yet those differences are essential to understanding just how much a religion can change when it’s translated to different cultures. When you watch, keep an eye on how the Japanese Christians perceive Jesus as a savior.

I don’t consider myself religious in any sense, and yet I loved the questions this movie posed and the inner conflicts that tore the characters apart. I heartily recommend it, and given the fact that this is Martin Scorsese’s passion project, I recommend buying it if you can. He deserves it.

Tagged with: