Silence (2016 film)

  • Running time 161 minutes
  • Based on “Silence” by Shūsaku Endō
  • Directed by Martin Scorsese

Silence is a 2016 epic historical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and with a screenplay by Jay Cocks and Scorsese, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, and Ciarán Hinds. The plot follows two 17th-century Jesuit priests who travel from Portugal to Edo-era Japan via Macau to locate their missing mentor and spread Catholic Christianity. The story is set in a time when it was common for the faith's Japanese adherents to hide from the persecution that resulted from the suppression of Christianity in Japan after the Shimabara Rebellion (1637–1638) against the Tokugawa shogunate. These are now called the kakure kirishitan, or "hidden Christians". It is the second filmed adaptation of Endō's novel, following a 1971 film of the same name.

The pre-production phase of the filmmaking for Silence went through a cycle of over two decades of setbacks and reassessments. After filming of The Wolf of Wall Street concluded in January 2013, Scorsese committed to following it up with Silence. On April 19, 2013, Scorsese indicated that he would begin production on Silence in 2014. Irwin Winkler was then announced as a producer, as were Randall Emmett and George Furla, who would provide financing through their company Emmett/Furla Films. Soon thereafter, planning was made for the film to be shot in Taiwan.

A long-time passion project for Scorsese, which he had developed for over 25 years, the film premiered in Rome on November 29, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 23, 2016. It received critical acclaim, with both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute selecting Silence as one of their top ten films of the year. It also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. However, the film was a box office bomb, grossing just $22 million against its $50 million budget. Silence is the third of Scorsese's films about religious figures struggling with challenges of faith, following The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997).


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