Silence and Scorcese

So there’s this book, called “Silence” which is about two Jesuit missionaries in Japan. Martin Scorsese is making it into a film…

Here’s an essay on the novel:

Thoughts? It could be a very anti-Catholic film. Scorsese’s films always have mixed attitudes towards the clergy and the Church. I mean, in the Departed, Jack Nicholson’s character mocks the clergy and makes multiple degrading references about the sex abuse scandals. Then again, his character is also psychotic and a jerk, to put it nicely.

Ooof. This is a tough book that could definitely be interpreted as being depressingly existentialist. I found it very moving, but (after one read) I’m not exactly sure of the position of the book… it might promote a pretty unorthodox view of humanity’s relation to Christ’s redemptive act. It’s certainly food for thought, anyway.

Scorsese has always spun his shallow references to Catholic belief toward in disconcerting ways, as far as I see it. (A brilliant friend of mine disagress.) It’s a shame he got his hands on this difficult material, based on his track record.

I guess we can only wait and see. He wanted to be a priest before he became a director, and while he is a brilliant director (my favorite American one) some of his attitudes towards the church are not… tactful. I need to read the book.

The book is excellent, but very disturbing. It made me appreciate how lucky we are in the US to be able to worship freely, when you read about the missionaries in Japan who had to risk everything, and about the great hunger the faithful had for the Eucharist and the faith.

I can only hope that the movie is faithful to the book.

Scorsese is one of the most over-rated directors… I just don’t get all the hyperbole about him.

I was just thinking how hard-hitting this movie could be in the hands of a director like Bresson. Or Mizoguchi. Oh my gosh. Um, both dead of course.

I always thought Scorsese was quite religious.I actually read that he once thought about becoming a priest.

Hmm have you watched his films? Or at least read about The Last Temptation of Christ?

The highly irreverent (charitable speaking) reference to Our Lady and St. Joseph in the Bringing Out The Dead has left a permanent bad taste in my mouth. The ambulance driver gets called to the scene of an impoverished woman in labor. Her name is Maria and her husband is Jose. They don’t appear to know what’s going on. The ambulance driver says to them, “She is giving birth! You are having a baby!” They say, no, no, impossible! We’ve never had sex! (I’m paraphrasing of course.)

I couldn’t see ANY point to the details of that scene other than to make fun of traditional Catholic beliefs. Most of his references to Catholic beliefs, which he peppers throughout his films, seem to come from a similar area. I don’t know the guy personally, but I can’t see how anyone could call his films ‘Catholic’. Well, I’ve heard a good case for Mean Streets from a friend, but beyond that, it’s tough for me to see.

I actually find the Last Temptation of Christ quite powerful. The movie isn’t based on the Gospels as it notes in the beginning. It shows the human side of Jesus struggling with temptation. Not once does the movie indicate that Jesus is NOT the Messiah. The message of the movie is that there IS a God and Jesus IS the Messiah.

This is what I found about Scorsese and The Last Temptation of Christ:
**Scorsese was raised a Catholic and at one point wanted to be a priest. Although he no longer practices his religion and has been married four times, Scorsese claims to be a believer still: “I believe that Jesus is fully divine,” he has declared, “but the teaching at Catholic schools placed such an emphasis on the divine side that if Jesus walked into a room, you’d know he was God because he glowed in the dark,” instead of being someone “you could sit down with, have dinner or a drink with.”

For Scorsese, if Jesus was so easily, so effortlessly, so unambiguously divine, “then when the temptations came to him, surely it was easy to resist them because he was God. He could reject the temptation of power in the desert; he could reject especially the temptation of sex, and he could undergo the suffering on the Cross, because he knew what was going to happen.” Thus, Scorsese was drawn to a portrayal of the human Christ who had to struggle with fleshly desires and limitations. It is the gradual assimilation of Jesus the man into Jesus the Christ, i.e., the quenching of all earthly fears and longings in the movement toward union with God, that brings out the meaning of the Cross**.

Exactly. This is heresy. It implies (or flat out states) that Christ’s human nature was not perfectly in line with his divine nature. This is typical of liberal (and/or gnostic-influenced) Christianity, btw. The reaction against the conception of a Christ who is “*too *divine” ends up in a Christ that is so completely human, no one in their right mind could worship Him. People fail to grasp that Christ is COMPLETELY both, to the detriment of neither. Not that it’s an easy thing for the human mind to accept!

The point is that whatever Scorsese’s Catholicism is, it certainly is not the sort that agrees with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The specific Scorsese movies that have really bothered me have all been written or co-written by Paul “Transcendental Cinema” Shrader. According to IMDB, he isn’t involved with Silence. That’s something, I suppose.
Um, apparently he is. He is a great director, albeit his religious standing, and hopefully we’ll have a good movie. I don’t know, though. I think that Scorsese believes in Christ’s divinity, or he (Christ in the Last Temptation of Christ) would have given in, which is what Scorsese was trying to show. But he had human temptations like everyone. (Which is kind of, sort of implied in the Gospels) But his morality is questionable. I hope this movie makes up for that.

I think Scorsese just wanted to show the struggling of Jesus with his human side and wasn’t trying imply Jesus wasn’t in line with his divine side but I also understand what you’re saying.

Of course I agree that The Last Temptation can’t be taken as the film version of the Gospels and as the true portrayal of the life of Jesus. I see the movie as a piece of art similar like the paintings from various artists over the centuries. The way many artists portrayed Christ in their paintings can also only be viewed as an interpretation.
I still think Last Temptation is pretty powerful compared to many other movies that are actually more or less based on the life of Jesus according to the Gospels. I saw this TV movie called Judas which made Jesus look like a “flower power Californian surfer dude”. It was too painful to watch.:crying:

You’re probably right about Scorsese’s Catholicism. It seems to me that Scorsese is actually the one who is struggling with his faith.
Either way, I’m still curious how Silence will turn out.

Oh, I meant that Schrader doesn’t appear to be involved.

I don’t quite understand everything about how Christ was tempted, but because Christ would NEVER sin, and COULD never sin, then its seems His temptations have a different context. A human, tempted, can sin. Christ, although He somehow undergoes the temptations of humanity, was never even a smidge moved toward sin, as sin is the negation of Himself.

So when someone like Scorsese, or Nikos Kazantzakis (author of the novel), portray Christ as coming close to giving in to sin, or struggling just like you and I do, they are misunderstanding His nature, and making Him less divine than He is. I understand that this is art and not theology class, but when the point of the film and book is a false understanding of Our Lord, the lines do get blurred. Anyway, art should search for the truth, and this is a false portrayal of Truth Himself.

Liu, I think I saw part of that Judas movie! It was on some network right after the Passion came out. Truly amazing. I remember getting the same impression of Surfer Dude Jesus. Wow!

Yeah, I’m definitely curious to see how Silence turns out. It is certainly possible that Scorsese’s struggles with his faith inform his films, and that does make them interesting.

Read the book if you haven’t! It’s pretty devastating. I posted something in the book discussion thread a while back but nobody has replied. It’s a tough book for sure!

Oh, I mean to. I just have to find a copy… plus, I’ve been busy reading Augustine’s “Confessions” and soon will be reading some stuff by Aquinas. Do you know anything about the author, Endo Shusaku, other than that his books are impossible to find?

Agreed. He has been trying to sell his soul to Hollywood for years, but they didn’t want to buy it. With Departed he finally got the recognition he was craving. I thought that film was pathetic - even for Scorsese and that’s not considering the anti-Catholicism.

He’s a liberal/secularist Catholic (if there’s such a term) – in other words, a person who thinks you can be a Catholic on the basis of some cultural or family heritage – like secular Jews.

I would not call him a “brilliant director” either. His films are pompous and heavy-handed.

While I’m obviously not a fan, I think he could still stumble on the right spirit and feeling for “Silence” and come up with a great film. I think it would be by accident though at this point and all the indications from his prior work point to an attack on the Church and on Faith.

I can understand the conflict in Rodrigues’s head if his stomping could free others, but the others knew what they were getting into and they went not to stomp on Christ’s image. Jesus saved us by being tortured and thus, showed us how to save others’ souls indirectly, by example. “He that would lose his life for my sake will gain it” comes to mind. If Rodgrigues lost his life for Christ’s sake, he would have showed others the way to gain heaven. Instead he and Endo show people how to lose their souls in false compassion (the compassion would be commendable in itself, but it would lead to thinking that’d lead one to thoughts that would get you lost. The part about all of them being redeemed because we all are fallen adds insult to injury to God. Yeah, God can suffer and this movie will increase it. Jesus did not walk around glowing or the Pharisees would have respected him more and even convinced he was the Messiah and not have killed him and thus, no salvation for us. I think Endo should realize that.

The die for me and lose your family for my sake are not Western contrivances. Jesus and his closest were all Jews (a people of the East, albeit not Far-East). Judaism was not an Anglo-saxon religion and were very much passionate to the point of killing heretics–or having Romans do it. The Romans were actually more like the Japanese culture with which Endo seems to be conforming Catholicism. Maybe there were deaths for bad-mouthing Janus or other Roman deities, but I don’t believe it was like you HAD to believe and behave in a way to be Roman as Pontius Pilate said, “What is truth?”. I don’t believe they were zealous, but it’s hard to say if any ever died for Janus or Hera before they had an empire. To him. the natural, pragmatic way of deciding things was worthwhile–esp. to save his hide. If things got crazy again, Caesar would have his head, maybe. Actually, not all Jews were truly passionate about the truths of their faith as the Pharisees were concerned about another temple burning again by the Romans.

Thus, Endo seems to have reconciled an Eastern religion almost with Western sensibilities (except the West doesn’t have the group-think thing as badly where you don’t stand-out), as we see so ominously since the Lambeth Conference of the Anglicans, when they allowed contraception, as followed in-step by the mainline Protestant denominations and, to an non-formal way (as the Church could not, by its nature, allow contraception, but its leaders could do the small “t” tradition 2-step by having altar girls, dropping barriers, and Western ways of showing honor to our God, and making it a fuzzy, people-friendly-in-a-natural-way atmosphere), the Catholic Church’s leadership. “We must make peace with the culture as much as possible. There’s no point in making things nasty for our followers”. Apart from the Catholic Church, other communities, and definitely other religions, cannot right themselves if ever they were in the right (as the Jewish religion was before Christ).

Actually, they are supposed to lead us to our doom (in a white martyrdom kind of way, at least, as someone close to us will always have a problem with that) in this world as it is a brief stay and Heaven would be an eternal joy for those who are lead to a battle, not a bloody one with an NWO as evil manifest in this world, but with Evil himself, Satan. Obviously, of course, our leaders are not supposed to provoke the government on purpose to make a red (is that the bloody kind?) martyrdom happen for the sake of it happening for a good end (as, for one thing, it would put mortal sinners in a situation of damning themselves worse) but, if it comes to stepping on an image of Christ or death, that would be an appropriate time for such a leader’s decision. Individuals, of course, have the freedom God gave them to trample on Christ’s face, but God help 'em if they do (it would be a very bad idea to step on Mary’s, but I’m not sure if it makes you an apostate from the true Faith though her help would be pretty hard to get if unrepentant because of offending her and God, through her being offended). It may be a venial sin out of fallen human nature; but, as the Bible has it, it may not.

This movie is going to come at a bad time and as a bad example for Christians when the goddess-types and alien-adherents come to full power. This period of conservatism may be the “deep breath before the plunge (I was watching Lord of the Rings this weekend)”. Some think the President, despite Supreme Court nominees, is into the whole NWO thing and conspiracy theorists believe the elites are into something freaky. Witchcraft, a goddess type of religion, is gaining hold and some think some of the elites are pushing a Gaia kind of thing, though polluting nature with their jets doesn’t have me totally sold on that unless its a goddess to replace God or the patriarchal archetype He represents to the adherents of a religious feminism, which oddly has no problem with China’s aborting of little girls. God/goddess–Satan doesn’t care as long as people get tired of God in whatever way they see fit. It seems the Endos will have proved themselves a great help to his cause, if he goes militant.

I may be wrong. These are my impressions from reading the first article posted. How they saw themselves as fighting syncretism seems to display their madness borne of natural emotion-dominated thinking. It doesn’t sound Catholic to me.

Going by this article and comment I can guess where he wants to go with this movie.
"It raises a lot of questions about foreign cultures coming in and imposing their way of thinking on another culture they know nothing about," Scorsese told the A.P.

I cant see any good coming out of this movie. I for one will pray it gets tossed in the trash before it is completed. What is needed is a movie about the 188 martyrs that will beatified here in the fall. A nicely done story about their lives would be a better example than a politics laden, confused Silence.

Oh, I can see that now. Interesting thing, here in S. Korea, I hear liberals whining that S. Korea is too close-minded. These are the open-minded people. They are often as rednecked in the liberal way as those who beat up black people in backwater towns were decades ago. Instead of killing blacks, they’ll kill souls for their insecurity. It’s not about being open-minded, but about people being able to stick whatever drug or whatever else into whatever orifice of theirs or any sex they choose. They aren’t comfortable until the world is like Amsterdam. If I don’t like being in a certain culture, I’ll get out. Unless it’s like Haiti or some other place with a Satanic religion, it doesn’t need an overhaul. Still, Christianity, being Eastern-borne in a natural sense and supernatural in its origins, requires one to step outside their culture comforts if their culture is syncretist, anything’s-good and/or it’s against being on your own regarding defending the Faith.

Maybe someone ought to make a movie about Brother Zenon, the one Japanese loved the most amongst the other friars of St. Maximillian Kolbe left by the latter to care for the atomic bomb victims, in the Western area of Japan.  There's an idea for the makers of Bella or Therese of Lisieux!  More liberal types would like the charity part so it would be a winner.  This will just entertain left-wing elitist rednecks who want to diminish the Church to elevate their Tower of Babel, governed by the U.N..

“The Samurai and the Tea”, which has been a book for some years, would be good as well as a movie about the Japanese Catholic experience…

I’m reading Silence, and I am only one-fourth of the way through it, but it is an outstanding novel. I hope that this thread will eventually pick up again whenever the movie Silence comes out. (It’s taken me too long to find an actual copy!) Hopefully, even if the film is terrible, it will start an interest in the book…:thumbsup: I don’t expect it to be terrible, though.

Awesome book. I have read it twice, and will probably read it again. Makes you appreciate the religious freedom we take for granted.:thumbsup:

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