EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Silence from Paramount Pictures will screen in Rome at the end of November to 400 Jesuit priests. The screening has been arranged courtesy of Rev. James J. Martin, S.J., a U.S.-based Jesuit who was a trusted adviser on the film, and has been a helpful friend to Paramount as they near the Decemeber 23 limited release of Silence.

Martin consulted during production making sure that the adaptation of Shûsaku Endô’s 1966 novel was as authentic as a Jesuit priest would want it. We understand that Martin equates the experience of watching Silence to living in a prayer. Martin is a preeminent force in the Society of Jesus, and is intertwined in the upper levels of the Catholic Church. He was an adviser to late Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman when he directed Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot at the Public Theater in New York, and also when the actor was preparing to play Father Brendan Flynn in the 2008 movie Doubt.

Silence follows two priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to 17th century Japan to find their mentor, only to encounter violence and persecution. Those who’ve seen Silence say it has soulful similarities to Rolond Joffe’s 1986 movie The Mission which focused on 18th century Jesuits who were protecting a South American tribe from slavery. That movie earned seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Director and a win for Chris Menges’ DP work.

Today’s news bodes well for Silence that it will resonate with the Catholic community and beyond. Scorsese’s previous Christian-themed movie, The Last Temptation Of Christ, which was based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ iconoclastic adaptation of the New Testament, alienated church groups upon its release in summer 1988, drawing 600 protesters outside Universal Studios.