Tag Archives: shusaku endo

Japanese cast of Scorsese’s Silence speak of masterwork for the ages

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Kenta Kato

Japanese stars heap praise on American auteur’s direction in his searching adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about religious persecution.

“God is silence. You have to go into your soul and search for the answer by yourself.”

Thus Yosuke Kubozuka meditated on Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) on January 12.

Scorsese’s long-awaited project – based on the acclaimed Japanese novel by Shusaku Endo, a story of religious prosecution in 17th-century Japan, where Christianity was prohibited – has finally been realized. Karen Severns, the FCCJ’s film programmer, praised Scorsese’s film as “a slow-burn masterwork, with a message that has contemporary resonance, reverberating across the centuries.”

The FCCJ screened the movie back in its home country in partnership with Kadokawa Corporation, then hosted a discussion with three of its Japanese stars – Kubozuka, Tadanobu Asano and Issey Ogata.


Ogata, who plays the grand inquisitor, Inoue Masashige, said of Scorsese’s direction:

Japanese Actor Issey Ogata plays the Grand Inquisitor, Inoue Masashige, in Martin Scorcese’s Silence. (Photo via zimbio.com)

“He never really instructs you to act in a certain way, but lets you bring what you have to the table. He never ever said anything negative about what I have to provide for him. In that way, it is really inspiring for actors and leads to many other ideas.”


Yosuke Kubozuka (AsianWiki)

According to Kubozuka, “Scorsese is the king on set. Just being there makes acting so much easier. He is like a mirror that makes me look like twice or three times bigger, and you can kind of think of yourself as a wonderful actor.”


Ogata, who tried to read Endo’s novel when he was younger but couldn’t finish, said Scorsese had developed his character beyond what was is laid out in the book. “Scorsese made so much effort to build the character of Inoue… by using imagination as much as possible. That gave me a lot of room to act in free style.”


The director himself has said: “The conflicts that occur – the persecution of religious minorities, the testing of faith – are timeless.” The film takes place in the insular Japan of the 17th Century, but its themes and characters reverberate across the ages.


Asano, who plays a translator involved in prosecuting Portuguese Jesuits, noted:

Tadanobu Asano (AsianWiki)

“I empathized with the character that I played, and I don’t see him as a vicious figure. He was probably a Christian himself but no longer able to carry on his faith. That led him to the line of work he is in.”


One of the most unforgettable characters in Silence is Kichijiro, an indecorous character who succumbs easily to the pressure applied by his prosecutors, who force Christians to trample on a ‘fumie’, a crudely carved image of Christ. According to Kubozuka, Kichijiro “is depicted as a weak, ugly, cunning, and dirty character. But he does commit fumie over and over again, which makes me wonder if he is really weak or actually strong. He is kind of two sides of the same coin.”

The film hints at the fragile morality that exists in the heart of all mankind. “When I went to the United States on 5 January, I asked this question about whether Americans would step on the picture of Jesus Christ in this day,” claims Kubozuka, “And a lot of people said, ‘I guess everybody would.’ So, by having this character Kichijiro, this story becomes something that is relevant to this modern age.”

Silence has been well-received by critics all over the world. Already, Ogata has been named runner-up in the Best Supporting Actor category by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Asked about the growing Oscar buzz, Asano jokes: “If it were not nominated, I suspect God would say something that he should not have said.”

(Source: atimes.com)


Martin Scorsese’s #SILENCE

Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE tells the story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) – at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The celebrated director’s 28-year journey to bring Shusaku Endo’s 1966 acclaimed novel to life will be in theaters this Christmas.

(Source: Paramount Studios)

Scorcese film ‘Silence’ about 17th century Christians in Japan set for December premiere

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.

Martin Scorsese

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.

(Source: http://www.christiantimes.com)