Any Martin Scorsese movie is definit ly always worth a watch and this film about missionaries in feudal Japan while not his usual subject matter is no exception. The film is based on a novel by a Japanese writer and concerns three Portugese Jesuit missionaries who travel from Macao to Japan in order to convert as many people as possible. The movie starts with two missionaries hearing the tale of their mentor, a priest who went out to Japan in order to undertake a mission to convert the heathen. There was such a huge crackdown onthe Christian community there by the authorities that the overwhelming numbers of converts were murdered. The priest was caught and wouldcertainly have been killed also but for some reason he recanted his faith and was allowed to live.
His two students can't believe what they are hearing, they cannot believe that their mentor, a man so strong in his faith would ever do such a thing. They ask permission from their mission leader to travel to Japan and try and track down their mentor and find out what really happened. And even if they can't find him, or find out anything about them they will be able to carry on the missionary work started at this time by the church. In the end they are given permission to go. At this stage they think that they understand the dangers that they will be facing but only time will really tell. They eventually do make it to Japan with the aid of a Japanese sailor they meet in Macao. This man is one of the larger characters in the movie and is there throughout the priests journeys in Japan, usually hindering them rather than helping. When they first land in Japan the two priests are overcome with emotion when they meet with some converts who are thrilled to meet with men who can say mass for them. However little by little, day by day the dangers and privations of their stay in Japan begin to dawn on them.
And this is even before the local governor hears about their arrival and begins to hunt them down. The two priests split up but it is not long before they are both caught. One of them is killed, drowned, while the other looks on helplessly.
All the time the authorities tell the priest to recant. He refuses, even when by recanting he can save the lives of others. In the end he is brought to a Japanese temple and there he finally meets his mentor. He is devastated to find out that he did indeed recant his faith. In the end he recants as well and he and his mentor spend their last days in Japan ensuring that no foreign religious artefacts are smuggled into the country.
Beautifully shot and acted the movie works on many levels, a historical story involving a country trying to keep it's culture pure, the very private and intimate nature of faith as well as the arrogance and stupidity of considering one religion as superior to another's.
You might have to be a person of a certain age or inclination to watch this show and you definitely have had to have watched the movie 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane'? The series is about the real life story of how two aged Hollywood actresses, both Oscar winners, who for the first time come together to star in a movie.
Joan Crawford and Bette Davis already supposedly hated each other before they even started filming the movie but by the time it was over that hatred was cemented. The film is a classic and although it was supposed to be a horror you can only watch it now for it's absolute camp craziness and there are many legends that have grown up around the making of the movie that this show takes and runs with. The two leads are great, Jessica Lange as Crawford and maybe not so great Susan Sarandon as Davis. If there is a problem with the show it is with Sarandon, she is 70 years old and hasn't a line or a wrinkle on her face which might be fine in her private life but she is playing a character who is famously haggard by drink and smoking in the original film. Suspension of disbelief is one thing but looking like a 17 year old when you're 70 is just pathetic. Obviously no one had the nerve to tell her knock off the botox and injectibles.