Martin Scorsese considered joining the priesthood before becoming a director and that interest is certainly obviously in Silence, his most theologically dense film yet. James Martin SJ, an advisor on the film said ‘it was like a prayer’.
An adaptation of the book by Shūsaku Endō, it follows two 17th century Jesuit priests, Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garrpe (Adam Driver). In search of their lost mentor Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), they venture into the forbidden land of Japan, where nearly a century of missionary work has been brought to a halt by the merciless persecution of Christians. The two priests must stay alive with the help of their guide Kichijiro (Yôsuke Kubozuka), minister to the faithful, and establish whether their hero really did apostasies or renounce his faith when tortured.
Dermot Roantree talks here with Pat Coyle of the Irish Jesuit Communication centre and says that the film is timely in that it poses a choice between faith and doctrine, between upholding an ideal or having compassion for those involved – a dilemma that is shared by all religions as well as by people of no religious faith.
Dermot begins by talking about the dilemma Fr Rodrigues faces in whether he should renounce his faith or let fellow Christians be tortured.