Author Topic: Silence  (Read 756 times)

saltine

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Re: Silence
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2017, 10:34:07 PM »
Starts here 2/9.  Really want to see this one because of your reviews which I've only skimmed but can see lots of insightful discussion.  Anxious to join in...
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oneaprilday

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Re: Silence
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2017, 10:54:37 PM »
This has all the markings of a movie that'll be "rediscovered" in 10 years or when Scorsese dies exactly because it was such a nothing at the box office and is complex enough to merit the attention. Hugo is nice and I like Shutter Island, but this is his 21st century masterpiece.
Agreed!

Starts here 2/9.  Really want to see this one because of your reviews which I've only skimmed but can see lots of insightful discussion.  Anxious to join in...
Eager to hear what you think!

Junior

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Re: Silence
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2017, 11:12:06 PM »
I struggled a bit through most of the film with the performances of Garfield and Driver. Something about how they looked, how they spoke (the odd accents), and how they behaved didn't communicate the era to me. And I felt distant from them and the suffering. (The villagers' lives were much more powerful.) They seemed out of place. But, in the end, I found that final - what was it, 15 minutes? - so powerful and so powerfully speaking to the events of the rest of the film that somehow even Garfield and Driver's odd performances felt right. And perhaps the out-of-place nature of Garfield and Driver suits the film's context - they are out of place in Japan and are never quite fully united with the people that want them there. They see themselves as above them, I think, rather than as humble vessels of service. Until that attitude changes at the end.

This is an interesting point as well. The accents are strange, but they're supposed to be Portuguese, right? Or did I misread that at the beginning? Anyways, I think this is why pix asked me how Garfield was after just watching the trailer. He comes off very strange there and early in the film, but once you figure out what's going on with him and how it all works, I think you kind of settle into it. The acting also has to go over a pretty wide range, especially in Garfield's case. In that way his mannered performance early on might serve to contrast with the intense anxiety he feels at the concept and prospect of apostasy later on. You can also kind of see it interestingly in Driver. I like that Scorsese (and probably in the original book) takes him literally out of the picture only to give him back at such a different level than we last saw him. Again, that contrast. He's further past what Garfield will go through, and it's hard to watch him keep the faith when we can see that the whole thing is both based on a lie (that Garfield already gave up) and is supposed to mess with Garfield as well.

I wonder where this will eventually end up on people's Scorsese lists. I'm guessing middle for many, high for a few, and low for some number in between.
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oneaprilday

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Re: Silence
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2017, 05:07:52 PM »
Yes, I think Portuguese, and I guess I don't know that accent well, but it didn't seem consistent, whatever it was. But yes, I did kind of settle into the performance eventually, and I think a second viewing would be even better, now that I know what to expect.

I really liked the choice, too, that Driver's character was just gone - and then suddenly introduced again, in a very extreme state of being, and we don't know what, exactly, he's been through nor everything that was personally or emotionally involved in that final action of his. I like the not knowing there as it mirrors the perspective of the final narrator of the film, who is observing the priests and has no idea what they've been through and cannot really judge what is in their hearts.

Curious about that ranking, too. I suspect it'll take a few years for its placement and for opinions to settle.

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Re: Silence
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2017, 05:39:08 AM »
This easily my favorite of what I will call the Outright Religious Scorsese Trilogy (come at me with better names) in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, KUNDUN, and now SILENCE. His best film since THE AGE OF INNOCENCE (another divisive work).

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Silence
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2017, 06:13:26 AM »
The accents are absolutely not Portuguese, I can guarantee that.

Crossposting my review:

I have been trying to finish this one for 10 days...

Silence
Martin Scorsese (2016)


Martin Scorsese is one of the directors I trust enough to blindly go watch any new movie he puts out. I haven't loved all of his films, whether early or recent, but the good far outweighs the bad and I am rarely averse to them. I vaguely knew Silence was about Catholic priests in feudal Japan going in, but that was about it.

If anything that much information played in favour of the movie. We really don't get enough movies about feudal Japans - or any other feudal society for that matter. I had to go all the way back to 2010 to find a movie that might have been released here (13 Assassins) and all such movies are usually about samurais. Here was a movie about a subject I love that looked at it from an angle that is almost never taken.

It is odd that I should like one of the most gorgeous movies of the year less than some drab, unremarkable fare I watched a few months ago and have already forgotten. The padres spend the movie pushing against the Japanese Inquisition (which, unlike the Spanish kind, is apparently completely expected) and coming to grips with their relationship to Jehovah. Scorsese treats his subject in a way that glorifies the fanaticism of his characters, both priestly and not, which makes it impossible to like the movie, or them. During the almost entire running time of the film martyrdom is portrayed as a noble thing, a demonstration of integrity when lying and humiliation provide a way out. The priests disagree about whether tramping on an image of Jesus is permissible but they are both intent on continuing preaching, whatever the cost visited upon their flock.

Garfield demonstrates some amount of doubt as the movie progresses and his deity remains silent. This feels more like Scorsese checking a box that everyone would be expecting than a genuine attempt to explore that corner of Garfield's psyche. I am likely wrong about that, I want to think Scorsese is better than that, but the whole thing was very much mishandled. The most egregious moments are when the heavenly powers actually speak to Garfield in audible voices.

I don't know how Scorsese lives his religiosity. I don't even know if he is religious at all. Had I not known he had directed this I would have thought the director had been fascinated by the worst aspects of Catholicism of the Jesuit variety. The last shot of the movie reveals something that demonstrates, if there was any doubt, that Silence is ultimately about faith, faith in the face of adversity and doubt. It believes such faith is a great, worthwhile thing, one that merits a two hour monument. I disagree.

The script only gets intellectually interesting during the discussions in its last third, when Garfield is confronted with the Inquisitor and Liam Neeson. There is no doubt the Japanese authorities are the villains of the story and the history, but the Jesuits are not blameless either, and it is in the allotment of blame and reason that these exchanges shine. The Inquisitor is not a barbarian fundamentalist but a learned man fighting for the sovereignty of his country. Neeson has become enlightened in the cultural realities of Japan that make it hard to preach Catholicism there. His explanation of how Garfield's converts are not real Christians is one of the movie's highlights and the kind of scene I would have loved to see more of. Garfield is deaf to most of their points. A lot of his arguments are right but he speaks out of emotion and faith, not intellectual conviction.

To my mind there were scores of superior stories that could have been told about this period and place, about this same subject even, especially with these means. I resent the film a bit for taking this marvellous opportunity and wasting it so, even if that is unfair. There is another point that I do not believe to be unfair though. Here we have a movie about Portuguese (is any of them a Spaniard?) men in Japan and all Europeans are played by Anglo-Saxons. It is not as if English-washing were anything new, but if there is ever an opportunity to play a movie in real language, surely this is it? A director's darling project, a historical piece, non-dead languages. Is this about mass audience appeal ? Is Silence supposed to attract large crowds ?

4/10
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oneaprilday

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Re: Silence
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2017, 08:43:25 AM »
Re: the accents - It is 17th c Portuguese though, right? Which I imagine is quite different from modern Portuguese. I talk about this a bit with my students when I teach Shakespeare - the accents of the Early Modern/Elizabethan period were a lot different from the British English we know today.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Silence
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2017, 09:00:52 AM »
I am unable to tell you what 17th century Portuguesemen (okay, why does my spellchecker show that as incorrect but I can say Frenchmen and there is no problem with that?) like but what Garfield and Driver are doing here sounds completely American to my ears with no hints of Latin at all.
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sdb_1970

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Re: Silence
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2017, 02:41:10 PM »
On a mostly unrelated point, I've been trying to look up this online, but I can't seem to generate the right search terms and it's driving me nuts ... Several years ago, I heard this linguistic anthropologist (I think ... on NPR?) who postulated that every language - no matter how culturally robust - has had this window period of obsolescence, like 400 to 600 years (or something like that), whereby persons speaking the language at the end of the period would not be able to understand people speaking (what is purportedly) the same language at the beginning of that period.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 02:42:44 PM by sdb_1970 »
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jdc

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Re: Silence
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2017, 03:24:14 PM »
Overall, I was disappointed in this which I probably will have to get to in a later post.  But there is one scene just wondering if this thought went through anybody else's head.  When the 3 Japanese followers are on the crosses when the tide is coming up.  There are times where it looks like they can just remove their hands at any point and jump into the water due to the ropes being so loose.  Didn't anybody wonder why they didn't?

Not that it is likely to change their fate but it didn't seem like they were really stuck to the cross in which case anything else would seem like a better alternative.

Maybe just nitpicking...
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