15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Japan1 Christians 0...,
This review is from: Silence (AKA Chinmoku) (Masters of Cinema) [DVD]  (DVD)
This is a great historical film that plays out a little like a Japanese Wicker Man.
Two zealous Portuguese Jesuit missionaries arrive in 17th Century Japan, determined to convert yet more local heathens to the 'true' religion of Christianity.
Little do they seem to realise how intent the Japanese authorities are on preventing this foreign and unwanted religion taking hold on their shores. The Japanese already have their own gods that they're perfectly happy with.
Of course the Jesuit priests have no interest in these 'false' gods and are intent on converting the Japanese people to the 'true' one. This puts them on a collision course with the local magistrate, who is determined not to let this alien faith take root in his country, and will torture any Christians he finds until they apostatise.
Whilst the torture of anyone refusing to renounce Christianity might seem a little harsh to modern eyes, one must remember that anyone professing non-Christian or heretical beliefs in 17th Century Europe would have been tortured and executed at least as brutally by the same Catholic priests that suffered as missionaries in Japan.
All in all, this is a stunningly shot film with beautiful locations and a brilliant storyline. It portrays both the suppression of Christianity in Japan, but also the zealotry and arrogance of the Christians and the reasons why Christianity was suppressed.
Well worth watching. The only detraction is the appearance of another Portuguese priest later on in the film, it looks like they cast a Japanese actor with bad make-up in the role, rather than using a Western actor.