A crowd of nearly 700 gave director Martin Scorsese a standing ovation on Sunday at the first public L.A. screening for his new film “Silence” starring Andrew Garfield as a Jesuit priest in 17th century Japan.
Silence is based on the novel of the same title by Shusaku Endo. The book was originally published in Japan in 1966. The film is about Portuguese Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who go to Japan to find answers about a missionary (Liam Neeson) who went missing. Neeson’s character, Father Cristóvão Ferreira, renounced his faith after being tortured by a regime persecuting Christians. Scorsese has said that he has worked off and on for 28 years to bring Shusaku Endo’s novel to the screen.
Scorsese recently screened the film at the Vatican in a chapel with Pope Francis. The Pope said that he had read Endo’s novel and that he hoped the film would “bear much fruit.” Driver lost roughly 50 pounds for his part and he and Garfield also went on week-long silent retreats at St. Beuno’s, a Jesuit house in Wales to bring an authenticity to their roles, and steeped themselves in Jesuit spirituality.
Silence opens in select theatres December 23rd.