Scorsese to make “Silence” by Shusaku Endo

Scorsese Planning Movie on

Japanese Martyrs

Martin Scorsese, American filmmaker

Martin Scorsese, American filmmaker


Based on Novel About Portuguese Missionary


TOKYO, FEB. 19, 2009 ( An Academy Award-winning director is planning a movie on Japanese Christians martyred in the 17th century.

Martin Scorsese will film the movie in New Zealand and release it in 2010, according to the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun. Names of actors linked to the project include Daniel Day-Lewis, Gael García Bernal and Benicio Del Toro.

Scorsese is known for his work on films including “The Age of Innocence,” “The Departed,” “Gangs of New York,” “Casino” and the controversial “The Last Temptation of Christ.”


The film on the Japanese martyrs is based on the book “Chinmoku” (Silence), by the Catholic Japanese author Shusako Endo. The novel tells the story of a Portuguese missionary in Japan at the beginnings of the 17th century. “Silence” refers to the silence of God before the cross of Christ, in telling of the missionary’s forced apostasy in the midst of horrendous torture.

Shusaku Endo, 1923-1996 "The Graham Greene of Japan"

Shusaku Endo, 1923-1996 "The Graham Greene of Japan"

Endo (1923-1997) was baptized at age 12. His novels reflect his effort to show Christianity reconciled with Oriental culture, as well as his vision of human weakness, sin and grace. Among his other writings are “A Life of Jesus” and “Deep River,” in which he tries to present Christianity to the Asian mentality.

Last November some 188 Japanese martyrs from the same era as the plot of “Silence” were canonized. Japan is today less than 1% Christian, of which only about 450,000 are Catholics.

Source: ZENIT

ZE09021904 – 2009-02-19

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs

A note from Sr Rose: I look forward to seeing this film so much. According to the Internet Movie Database  Jay Cocks is the writer (De-Lovely; Gangs of New York; Age of Innocence) so he has great range but not so sure about spiritual depth. I think I would have preferred this to be a Paul Schrader collabortion because between Scorsese and Shrader, they gets the spiritual struggle, the existential, so well; they know how to actualize it, externalize it. (I wouldn’t want this to turn into the Japanese version of Gangs of New York). This soul struggle is the crux of Endo’s novel. At any rate, this is one of the most exciting announcements for cinema and theology/spirituality for some time.

And if you haven’t yet read  Silence get thee to a Pauline Book & Media Center (or today!


  1. Great blog and hope to have some time soon to come back and read more!

  2. I am really looking forward to this movie. There is a new book out by Endo called The Final Martyrs. It is actually a collection of works before Silence that inpired Silence. It is well worth the read!

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