Whether of the historical novel by Shusaku Endo or of the film adaptation by Martin Scorsese, the powerful images evoked (or provoked?) by the contrast between noise heard and the silence following can be felt only with the “before” and “after”. The novel itself is Endo’s masterpiece, although he has written many; and, of course, Scorsese has a long list of accomplishments and commercial successes, but Silence is not one of them— at least not by commercial standards.
It is a serious movie with few bright moments; of contracted theological arguments and disputations revealing cultural chasms so deep that only a simple metaphor can make it comprehensible; of an agonizing series of endless torture; of the anguished, linguistic divide apparent between two countries which fail to understand each other because of the subtleties of language’s disconnect. And then there is — silence — in contrast to noise; of a “before” and an “after”.
And the questions which foretell of the quietude: Does the lack of God’s intervention mean that there is no God? Does “speaking” of denying and renouncing, or the act of stepping upon the image of God, determine one’s faith, or can faith be alive within the silence of one’s inner soul? Can the Peter-like character, Kichijiro, remain a “faithful apostle” despite his breaking of his silence in actively renouncing and apostatizing? And who has the greater faith — the priest who grudgingly passes judgment each time the apostate comes for confession and forgiveness, or the one who renounces but then confesses and asks?
In the end, Silence is too heavy a movie to be considered “entertainment”, and most people will not want to spend an evening watching a movie that has little joy and less to laugh about; for, the pain that is experienced by so many in this world in the silence of one’s own suffering is torturous enough without asking to view an even greater expansion of such pain and silence.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, similarly, suffer in silence because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Consulting and being guided by an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is likely the wiser course to take, as the bureaucratic morass that one must be guided through can be likened to the foreign country that the priests in Silence had to endure — through the pitfalls of dangers and caverns of unknown territories.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire