Chinmoku (1971)

  • Year: 1971
  • Released: 03 Nov 1971
  • Country: Japan
  • Adwords: 4 wins & 2 nominations
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p,
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • MPA Rating: N/A
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • Runtime: 129 min
  • Writer: Shûsaku Endô, Masahiro Shinoda
  • Director: Masahiro Shinoda
  • Cast: David Lampson, Don Kenny, Tetsurô Tanba
  • Keywords: christianity, based on novel or book, jesuits (society of jesus), 17th century, religious persecution,
83% – Critics
83% – Audience

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Chinmoku Movie Reviews

A very deep reflection of religion, faith and sacrifice

“Chinmoku” is a movie about two Portuguese missionaries that come to Japan to spread their faith at a time when, after a long period of flourishing, Christianism finds itself forbidden in Japan. The main character, padre Rodrigues, is eventually captured, imprisoned and tortured in an attempt to make him deny his faith in an act – however purely formal – of treading on a holy image.

But that is not the most important thing to the film. Although I did not find it as emotionally strong as I expected (but don’t misunderstand me, it still is very moving) and rather slow-paced, maybe even a little boring in the beginning, it actually turned out very deep in the end, leaving in me a lot of questions… After starting in a tone which clearly shows the Christians as good people unjustly persecuted by the cruel Japanese government, you will slowly realize, during the first discussions between Rodrigues and his judges, that the problem is far from being that simple, and by the time Padre Ferreiro, whom the Japanese made deny his faith, enters the scene… I’m not able to tell which side you’ll be on, but you’ll be definitely asking yourself a lot of questions about how far should one go in defending one’s faith, whether the weak that rather tread on the holy image than die really deserve nothing but contempt and, most of all, whether it is right when other people suffer because of YOUR religion…

If you liked Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”, this one’s definitely a must-see!!!

A very powerful look at one man’s (and a country’s) faith struggles

This is probably the most powerful movie I have ever seen. Two Portuguese missionaries come Japan just as the authorities are stamping out Christianity in the 1500’s. They seek to minister to the local Christians who are sorely persecuted.

The movie asks whether Christianity can really ever grow or thrive in Japan.

Besides just the persecution, is the Christianity in Japan the same as in Europe, or has it become its own religion? It is also an examination of the struggles in one man’s faith undergoing inquisition-like sufferings.

I have read the book and seen the play, but I would say that the movie had the most emotional impact.

Japan in the 16th Century

16 February 2017 The basis for this film is a best selling novel written by a Japanese Catholic writer in the 1960’s. Two Jesuit priests from Portugal are sent to Japan for two reasons. Fathers Rodrigues and Garrpe are looking for Father Ferreira, who has disappeared with the rumor of having renounced his faith. Along the way, the good reverends discover groups of Catholics in hiding. The punishment for practicing the tenets of the church of Rome are quite brutal, including a crucifixion from low tide to high tide with the unfortunate parishioner’s death by drowning. Rodrigues and Garrpe will be severely tested by government officials who claim to be defending their one true religion, Buddhism. This all leads to some deep theological and philosophical discussions and some horrendous and inventive acts of not so gentle persuasion. The two hours plus here will not restore your faith in humanity or religion. Martin Scorcese released a newer, more technically adept version in 2016. This 1971 original tells the same story with some slight variations. Both films are filled with the director’s good intentions and each has succeeded in producing works of art that will at least cause the viewers to think about the meaning of life.