MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 998 this week

Silence (1971)
"Chinmoku" (original title)

7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 399 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 10 critic

Two Jesuit priests encounter persecution when they travel to Japan in the 17th century to spread Christianity and to locate their mentor.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 193 titles
created 17 Feb 2013
 
a list of 37 titles
created 10 Oct 2013
 
a list of 21 titles
created 05 Jan 2014
 
a list of 209 titles
created 9 months ago
 
list image
a list of 538 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Silence" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Silence (1971)

Silence (1971) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Silence.
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A blind traveling musician is abused and oppressed while she tours the country, even though the modern world imposes changes on people's behavior.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Shima Iwashita, Tomoko Naraoka, Kirin Kiki
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A doomed love between a paper merchant and a courtesan.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Kichiemon Nakamura, Shima Iwashita, Shizue Kawarazaki
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The tragic story of Gonza, a handsome ladies man, set in the Tokagawa Period, a time in which appearences are very important. Gonza competes with Bannojo for the honor to perform the tea ... See full summary »

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Haruko Katô, Hideji Ôtaki, Kuniko Miyake
Samurai Spy (1965)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The legendary samurai Sasuke Sarutobi gets caught in a web of political intrigue, deception and espionage during the early 17th century.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Hiroshi Aoyama, Jun Hamamura, Osamu Hitomi
Assassination (1964)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Tetsurô Tanba, Eiji Okada, Eitarô Ozawa
Himiko (1974)
Drama | Fantasy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A freestyle, imagined telling of the life of shaman queen Himiko, who falls in love with her half-brother, making her powers weaken thus putting her position to risk.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Shima Iwashita, Masao Kusakari, Rie Yokoyama
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Downed American fliers in WW II are vivisected by Japanese surgeons in medical experiments.

Director: Kei Kumai
Stars: Eiji Okuda, Ken Watanabe, Takahiro Tamura
Silence I (2016)
Drama | History

In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Long before the events of the movie Ôki, who was approaching middle age, had a relation to 16-year-old Otoko. She got pregnant, but the child was stillborn. Their relation stopped at the ... See full summary »

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Kaoru Yachigusa, Mariko Kaga, Sô Yamamura
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Sayoko Ninomiya, Masako Yagi
Fantasy | History | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

"When cherry trees blossom, people have parties. They sit under the trees with food and beverages. 'Oh, how beautiful.' That's all nonsense...before that the trees were feared." In Under ... See full summary »

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Shima Iwashita, Hiroko Isayama
Sharaku (1995)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A crippled kabuki player is taken into a strolling company of itinerant actors. An influential publisher notices his honest, bold drawings, and nurtures him despite persecution and betrayal... See full summary »

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Hiroyuki Sanada, Furankî Sakai, Shima Iwashita
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Lampson ...
Don Kenny ...
Tetsurô Tanba ...
...
Kichijiro (as Mako Iwamatsu)
...
Kiku
...
Yoshiko Mita ...
Woman in Maruyama
Rokkô Toura ...
Yoshi Katô ...
Old man
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Prison guard
Noboru Matsuhashi ...
Yasunori Irikawa ...
Okada Saemon
Tomo'o Nagai ...
Official
Kappei Matsumoto ...
Prisoner official
Yoshio Inaba ...
Prisoner official
Edit

Storyline

Two Jesuit priests encounter persecution when they travel to Japan in the 17th century to spread Christianity and to locate their mentor.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 November 1971 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Milczenie  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Silence (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Brooding insight into religion, politics and a man's struggle with his own faith - wrapped up in a superbly directed drama
30 August 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

It is most telling that a director and notorious film buff of Martin Scorsese's reputation decided out of all the movies out there to remake this little known novel adaptation from 1971. Anyone who has seen his documentaries A Journey through American Movies and My Voyage to Italy knows full well that Scorsese knows his cinema. Itt must have been then for very good reason that he picked Silence and it only takes 30 minutes to realize why.

The story deals with two Jesuit missionaries that land in the southern shores of Japan and become the priests of a small fisherman village. The problem being that at this point Christianity had been outright banned from Japanese authorities, but not before counting a rough 300,000 people among the converted.

The truth is that by the end of the 16th century what had started as a promising beginning to those proselytizing missions (daimyos allowing catholic missions to be established in hopes of creating a trading relationship with Europe), met complications from competition between the missionary groups, political difficulty between Spain and Portugal, and factions within the government of Japan. Christianity was suppressed. By 1630, it was driven underground.

The two Portuguese priests are forced to flee the small village and are later arrested and tortured, both physically and mentally, to denounce their faith. The beauty of the movie however is that it does not stoop to convenient black and white morality nor does it make the persecuters ruthless villains and the priests martyrs without flaws.

By the end of the sequence where Father Rodriguez travels through the rugged land and is finally betrayed by a villager - a complete Jesus/Judas parable in itself -, the movie has already transcended the strict limitations of a period drama or a religious movie. It is a slow and brooding drama make no mistake, but it's just that kind of movie. The slow-burn pace is part of its infrastructure as much as the tormented Father Rodriguez as the central, Jesus-like figure.

Masahiro Shinoda's direction is what in my opinion truly elevates Silence to another level. Gone are the frantic tracking shots of his earlier Samurai Spy. Here he favours stationary blocking and long takes. Both his shot selection and framing however are pitch perfect - truly a lesson in directing delivered in a little more than two hours. Notice for example how he frames the villager that betrays Father Rodriguez to the authorities in the second scene where he talks with the geisha: he's framed with the open screen door in the background and behind the door there's a wall made of boulder rocks and rain is falling, as if to symbolize both the burden of his guilt and his sadness of being "a weak man". Many such examples can be found throughout the movie for the discerning eye and it just goes to show to what pain-staking lengths Shinoda went to physically express his characters' emotions.

Long stretches of the movie are very monotonous in colour - some night/dusk shots almost appear to be black and white. Perhaps colour is suppressed as much as the religious beliefs of the converted Japanese villagers who are forced (and tortured) to denounce their faith. In that light it makes sense when Father Rodriguez dons a bright red robe which he wears for most of the movie. His presence bringing the cleansing fire of change, the eye almost compelled to fixate on him.

Technical brilliance aside, Silence works as a human drama exactly because it refuses to take sides. The discussions between Father Rodriguez and the local feudal lord Inoue and between Rodriguez and his old Portuguese teacher who renounced Christianity and now considers himself Japanese Father Ferreira (oddly played by the great Japanese character actor Tetsuro Tamba) reveal the heart and brain of the movie. Christianity is not suppressed as Inoue states out of some childish wim or stubborness (which is what Father Rodriguez's faith resembles) but because the situation demands it: we're talking about Japan in the grip of social and political change that ended with the formation of the Tokugawa Shogunate after the civil war between the Tokugawas and the Toyotomis. A largely feudal country in desperate need of a nationalistic conscience and central government.

The points made by Father Ferreira are also important. When the Japanese villagers embrace the Christian God or the Virgin Mary it's because they see in them the same pagan gods and symbols they've worshipped for centuries (a convenience Christian missionaries were only too happy to exploit). If they call Amaterasu Virgin Mary or Buddha Christ, it is because they have come to resent the oppressive social caste system those traditional symbols have come to be associated with. They're in desperate need of change - any change.

I won't spoil the result of the crisis of faith Father Rodriguez faces but I will say the ending is chilling in its own right. The Scorsese remake is scheduled for 2010 and I'll be only too happy to see the original gain a well-deserved exposure and second life. A must-see classic of Japanese period cinema.


12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Silence (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?