Monday, February 16, 2009

Scorsese and Silence

Now, the path of an item of interest, that appears in a person’s field of interest is not always direct. I, casually looking at a citizen’s internet journal, was directed to an article in a catholic weekly, which further directed me to the AFP, which in mid-February ’09, picked up a story that nipponistas and film enthusiasts took up at the beginning of the month, which confirmed a story that was reported from Cannes in May of ’07--Martin Scorsese is to film, his version of, Shusaku Endos 1966 novel, Silence (Chinmoku). In August of ’06, an UK edition of the novel came out, with a foreword by Scorsese. In October ’06, he told reporters, that, he was considering it for fifteen years. I have not read that foreword, but it may tell us how Scorsese would present the story.

Scorsese once wanted to be a priest, and was a seminarian. He may have lost his faith, but is still interested in christian themes, the nature of Christ and belief, and perhaps, imposition and loss of belief. He made an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Kazantzakis so bothered the church, that, he was denied a christian burial. The novel is worth reading. It deserved to be put on the Index. It was an heretical portrait of Christ, it was near adoptionism, and near nestorianism. It was not meant to be biographical. Kazantzakis changed several undisputed facts*. Scorcese’s film was protested, and anti-christians heralded it for free speech. I was not going to spend money on it, but I did get a tape from the library. I could not have watched more than twenty minutes of it. Scorsese insulted Kazantzakis, and what he did to Christ, well Jesus suffered more on the cross, but this was not to His benefit either. It was a totally wretched movie, well I admitted, that, I watched only the beginning, but if you start eating a meal and you are gagging, and sickened by the food, would you eat the remainder?

I, later, followed the news and the contrast with Mel Gibsons, The Passion. News ran a long time before the film was shown. Gibson wants to make a movie. It can be filmed. He will pay for everything. It was to be filmed in Italy where Pasolini’s film, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, had been. No one will market the film. And then there was controversy: radical protestant fundamentalists, activist anti-anti-semites were incensed, Hollywood blackballed the movie, and Gibson. I would be far, far more comfortable with Mister Gibson.

Scorsese has made more excellent movies than disasters. The screen writer, for Silence, is to be Jay Cocks, who was the writer for Gangs of New York, a fabulous, sprawling disaster. Practically every person of note, associated with 19th century New York City was brought onto the screen. Facts and chronology were random. They both worked together on The Age of Innocence, which was a good movie. The two movies, that, I mentioned unfavorably, did receive great praise in certain quarters. Some people gravitate toward certain tastes and projects, based on their proclivities, and, of course, it varies. For those who have affection for Endo, and his subject manner, these are anxious moments.
*from memory, he changed the number of apostles, and made Judas their chief; and he has a caravan bring the bark of the cinchona that produces quinine, which came from the Andes; these, I surmise, are hints that this is about a Jesus of an alternate universe. 
postscriptum  30 July 2014: [click] Filming may soon begin.

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