Tuesday morning, around the breakfast table. There is a guest, don Paolo, who has come to visit Guido while in Genoa for a few hours. After introducing each other, we end up talking about Silence, the last movie by Martin Scorsese. The episode, not that relevant in itself, strikes me because it’s more than a week that this movie is the hot topic in the Novitiate: we talk about it over and over again, during classes, over dinners, in the prayers of the faithful at Mass; and we exchange opinions and reflections.
Last Friday, we, the second-year novices, went to watch the movie, that we had been waiting for a long time, not just because of the world-wide famous director, but also because of the topic: the persecutions against Japanese Christians, in which some Jesuits were also involved. A family story, we could say.
As we walk to the cinema, we all feel very happy: it is the first time, since the beginning of the Novitiate, that we go out to watch a movie at the cinema! The weather outside (it rains for the first time after several months) does not match the “weather” inside and so we don’t let this affect us. Before the movie starts, we tell each other: «Who knows what to expect? Did you know that the actors did the Spiritual Exercises? Is it a true story? Are we buying some popcorn?». Some of us, like Guido, have read all the existing reviews of the movie, from the one on La Civiltà Cattolica to the one on Io Donna (a women’s magazine…!). Others, like me, have gone totally unprepared.
The lights go down, the movie begins. Three hours later, it was like waking up from a trance. Three hours gone by in the blink of an eye. We were so absorbed by the movie that you could have heard a pin drop. At the end, we were all deeply moved. Silence is a masterpiece and, like all great works of art, it takes time for it to sink in and to be able to «relish it interiorly». It is a movie about faith and grace, not trivial at all, not providing answers but rather posing questions, and leaving an open end.
It was a surprise to receive so much food for thought from Silence. The movie questions our idea of fidelity and makes us wonder about divine mercy. Back in the Novitiate right after the movie, we began our sharing over colorful dinner quiches. And the sharing still goes on and increases our desire to watch Silence again soon.