Well, I finally watched Scorcese's Silence. So, as promised earlier, here is the second installment of reflections.
Adam Driver (Garupe) and Andrew Garfield (Rodrigues) in Silence; photo from AZ Central
First, visually it's a wonderful, lush movie.Rodrigo Prieto deserves all the praise he's received for his cinematography. Sweeping vistas, crashing surf, nuanced colors and lighting--they're all here. It makes sense that a "Catholic" movie would appear visually attractive. We have St. Peter's Basilica, the pomp and ritual of the Mass everywhere, every day. So a movie about Catholics should follow suit, and Silence does not disappoint. For example, the starkly difficult choice Rodrigues faces are offset by several shots where fog and/or mist obscure the view. The issues are not clear, the notion of Japan as a swamp where foreign faiths go to die, are embodied by the swirling mists in and out of which the characters move.
On this note, the cinematography's beauty stems from scenes shot up and across--valleys, ocean beaches, steamy rainforests, etc. Part of the movie's difficult subject gets embodied, though, by the shots downward. Mucky, sticky, omnipresent mud grounds the movie. (A hint of this comes from the YouTube icon linked below.) So, head in the cloud and feet stuck firmly in a foot of gluey mud--this is the movie Silence.
Which is right where any authentically Catholic movie about Japanese missions should be.