Silence - (Import DVD)
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1971 Japanese film by Masahiro Shinoda explores the lives of religious missionaries in that country in the seventeenth century. Japan was under a strict policy of self-imposed exclusion for four hundred years and the reward for anyone fetching up on their shores during that was, officially, death. In this film, two Portuguese missionaries land on a remote Japanese shore under cover of darkness - their mission? To infiltrate local Christians in order to find out what happened to an earlier priest sent there. Locally, Christianity has been driven underground after an earlier surge in popularity by an insecure and brutal government. Japanese fans of the bible must now read it in secret locations in the wilds. As they go about their mission, they come up against government informers and persecution almost immediately. One of them, Padre Rodrigues (David Lamson), is arrested and tortured in an attempt make him deny his faith. The film is critical of both sides and paints a spiritual conundrum as the padre is gradually forced to see that his faith might not be the rock he imagined and that the people he thinks he's saving might not be doing so badly without Christianity.
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