Posted by Larry Gleeson
By Jardine Malado
Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese announced that his the long awaited film Silence will be released in theaters on Dec. 23.
Silence, based on a novel by Shusaku Endo, tells the story of two Jesuit priests who encountered brutal persecution when they attempted to spread Christianity in 17th century Japan.
The production of the movie has been delayed several times. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film took 26 years to make and it has been the subject of various legal battles.
Scorsese was sued multiple times by Cecchi Gori Pictures for choosing to finish other films ahead of Silence. Court papers revealed that he blamed the delay partly on “a cloud on the title to the Picture.”
The film was almost shutdown during its pre-production in Taiwan in 2014 for lack of funds. Filming began in early 2015 after Fabrica de Cine and Morah Media offered to provide capital.
There was also a lawsuit regarding the writing credits of the film but the parties involved decided to settle the case in order to avoid causing a delay in the release of the movie.
Scorsese said that he went to the places that were mentioned in the book and interviewed the descendants of hidden Christians. Japanese Christians practiced their faith underground during the 17th century due to severe persecution. They only came out of hiding in the 1860s when Japan ended its self-imposed isolation.
“What came out of that for me was the extraordinary power and sacrifice, the commitment and conviction of their ancestors who were martyrs to the faith,” the filmmaker said to AFP. “For me this was almost like meeting one of the hidden Christians from the 17th century and it changed my perception of how to deal with those scenes and the characters,” he added.
Slash Film reported that the movie was initially supposed to run for 195 minutes but it has been cut down to 159 minutes.
The cast of “Silence” includes Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Tadanobu Asano.