Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Another Lost Opportunity
Just as P.D. James' Catholic vision was supplanted in the blandly secular adaptation of Children of Men, it seems another Catholic classic novel is in the wrong hands. My wife and I recently finished Shusaku Endo's novel Silence, a fictional account of a Portuguese missionary's struggle with faith during the brutal persecutions in 16th century Japan, and were thrilled to find out that the film adaptation was in pre-production and would be directed by Martin Scorsese. In my unbounded naivety, I believed Martin's Scorsese, who has never been able to distance himself from his Catholic upbringing, would render a faithful and compelling adaptation. Unfortunately in a recent IMDB newsfeed Scorsese explained the story as an extended metaphor for the failure of the US invasion of Iraq and the folly of imposing Western cultural norms on foreign cultures. It would be thoroughly disappointing to see Endo's complex theological themes get subsumed into another multicultural manifesto, and I hope it's just bluster to get press attention. Proclaiming a movie to be an extended metaphor with Iraq seems to be a popular fad these days-- Mel Gibson promoted Apocalypto the same way. I'm preparing myself for disappointment though.