I pray but I am lost. Am I just praying to silence?

After watching Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’, it gives me the same feeling I had when I watched Oppenheimer’s ‘The Act of Killing’, the feeling where it just destroy your mood for the rest of the day…

While ‘Silence’ might not be as appealing as it is compared to Scorsese’s previous movies such as ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, ‘Hugo’ or even ‘The Departed’, the amount of killing and torturing involved really reminds me of the incidents described and revealed by Anwar from ‘The Act of Killing’.

I guess you can say ‘Silence’ is a movie version of ‘The Act of Killing’. Instead of documenting the killing involved from the killer’s perspective, ‘Silence’ surrounds missionary Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) in his attempt to look for Father Ferreira (Liam Nelson) in Japan, who renounced his belief on Jesus after being tortured. During his journey in search for Father Ferreira, Father Rodrigues encountered a lot of local Christian populations hidden underground.

You have to understand that minority culture and belief such as Christianity cannot exist in Japan, as Japan operates under militarism. They see religion as a demonstration of authority.

Once they captured Father Rodrigues, they did not kill him. They see priest as the root to the problem of Christianity. Therefore, instead of killing him, what they did was to force him to renounce his faith. They did this by village massacre, drowning Christians, burning them alive, and having their head chop off…

All of these were done to question Father Rodrigues’ ethical dilemma, who struggles as he questions whether if he’s being too self-centered or too unmerciful to commit apostasy. The dilemma where he is not helping those who are suffering as a Christian priest because he is unwilling to give up his religious belief.

And of course, it didn’t take long until Father Rodrigues breaks down from this ethical dilemma and chose to accept this painful truth.

Throughout the movie, it illustrates the three key areas of ‘humanities’, the correlation between value, culture and the normative. You can see how Father Rodrigues firmly hold on to his belief and see it as a responsibility to have such an ethical guideline. It is this responsibility given by God that gives him such a burden not to commit apostasy.

Watch Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqrgxZLd_gE


Art is ____________.

Not long ago I was asked to write down my statements on what art is and what it contributes to resistance in my PO936 ‘Resistance in Practice’ module.

Of course, as one of the few top students in this module (sarcasm), I demonstrated my resistance in practice and chose not to contribute any of my statements at all.

The truth is, I struggled to come up with a statement on art even after hours and hours of thinking.

Art is…an expression of self.

No, no, that’s too easy

As a child whose parents studied fine arts, whose dad is an art teacher, these statements are too simple; I need to come up with a better definition for art

And then art can be part of humanities as well…

Can I actually relate some of the themes from the law and humanities to contribute my definition of art?

And just when I was working on my law and humanities essay, I came across this lovely piece of reading from the Yale Journal of Law and Humanities.

Joushua Decter’s ‘Inside and Outside Sovereignty, Outside and Inside the Law’.

Not only does he quote my favorite idol Giorgio Agamben to begin with as his introduction, what he wrote was exactly what I wanted to say about art. His way of expressing sovereignty through a poem linking with law as well as art have been simply beautiful.

“Art is governed by the same laws it seeks to break.
And yet we might say that art is always endeavoring to be at once inside and outside ‘the law.’
If art breaks these laws, it breaks itself.
Which can result in powerful art…
We are the order we seek to disorder.
We are our incomplete sovereignty.
Decriminalize us.”

Decter, Joshua (2015) “Inside and Outside Sovereignty, Outside and Inside the Law,” Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities: Vol. 27: Iss. 2, Article 8.
Available at: h p://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol27/iss2/8