Nick Ripatrazone at Literary Hub:
In 1988, former altar boy Martin Scorsese said “I’m a believer, but I’m struggling.” His film The Last Temptation of Christ had just released to much criticism in Christian circles. One defender was the Reverend Paul Moore, the Episcopal Bishop of New York. In a letter to The New York Times, Moore praised Scorsese’s provocative representation of Christ, writing that much like the Spanish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, Scorsese depicted Christ “as an agonized, suffering body on the cross.” Moore said he was “moved” by Scorsese’s film.
Moved enough to gift Scorsese with a book: Silence, a 1966 novel by Shūsaku Endō. The director would soon buy the film rights to the book, but “got sidetracked doing other films.” Yet Scorsese “was always going back to the book” because it gave him “a kind of sustenance that I have found in only a very few works of art.” Now, finally, the film has reached theaters—like a long withheld confession.
I can’t help but compare Scorsese’s gestation of the film with Gustave Flaubert’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony, finished in 1872 but started nearly 30 years earlier.