VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Wednesday met the Italian-American movie director Martin Scorsese, whose latest film “Silence” recounts the persecution of a group of Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan.
Scorsese was accompanied by his wife, their two daughters, and the producer of the “Silence” film with this wife. The group was escorted by the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Viganò.
According to a Vatican statement, the meeting was very cordial and lasted 15 minutes.
During the meeting, Pope Francis told those present that he had read the novel on which the film “Silence” was based. Published in 1966, the book was written by the late Japanese author, Shusaku Endo. He then spoke about the “sowing” of the Jesuits in Japan and the “Museum of the 26 Martyrs.”
Scorsese gave the Pope two paintings on the theme of “Hidden Christians,” one of them a much-venerated image of the Madonna painted by a 17th century Japanese artist. Pope Francis gave his guests rosaries.
This morning’s audience in the Vatican came after a special screening of “Silence” last evening at Rome’s Pontifical Oriental Institute, for more than 300 Jesuit priests.
This evening the Vatican cinema will host a second private screening for around 40 guests.
“Silence” is set to hit screens in the United States this December.
Shot entirely in Taipei, Taiwan, it stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asan, and Ciarán Hinds.
Set in the 17th century, the film recounts the violence and persecution faced by two Portuguese Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver), when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor (Liam Neeson), who had committed apostasy after being tortured.
The story takes place in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”) that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion (1637–38) of Japanese Roman Catholics against the Tokugawa shogunate.
St. Francis Xavier, companion and of the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius, brought the Catholic Faith to Japan in 1549.