In “Silence: Scorsese’s Spiritual Masterpiece,” Craig Detweiler reviews Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Silence. The film explores the nineteenth-century journey of several European priests to Japan to locate the “hidden Christians” there. Martyrdom, of priests and the Japanese Christians, holds an important place in the movie, haunted with images of men drowning or burning for their faith. However, ultimately, the movie explores questions of faith: “Where is God in times of suffering?” “Is it better to pursue ideal faith, even if it means death, or is it better to stay alive and make some concessions to worldly authorities?”
The characters include Father Ferreira, a world-weary spiritual father who has kept the faith alive in Japan for many years, and Sebastiano Rodrigues, a young Portuguese priest just starting out in his missionary life. Both are Jesuits, part of a highly educated order of priests with a deep spiritual focus. As part of their preparation for the role, they took the Jesuit “spiritual exercises,” an intense 30-day retreat, under the guidance of real Jesuit priests. Detweiler notes the “complete spiritual catharsis” of Scorsese’s latest film, which reaches a level of depth that his previous religious works have not. The film is currently in theaters.