After his Oscar-nominated epic Killers of the Flower Moon and a sci-fi Super Bowl ad, Martin Scorsese will return to the realm of faith for his next project. We recently learned his adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s A Life of Jesus, which will be around an 80-minute, mostly present-day film in which he intends to capture a universal look at Jesus, will begin production this year. Now, thanks to a 1.5-hour Berlinale conversation Scorsese took part in with Joanna Hogg on the occasion of receiving his Honorary Golden Bear, we have a few more details on his approach.

Scorsese says, “It took me quite a number of years to be able to come to terms with the script of Silence, because I didn’t quite fully know how to handle the scene in which [Andrew Garfield’s character] apostatizes, where Jesus tells him, ‘Step on me. That’s why I was created.’ I know that he found something deeper and I want to go there now. And I don’t know what it is. I’m not quite sure. But I think part of it is reexamining or trying to come to terms with the idea of a sort of universal compassion. And I think I try to deal with that in Kundun also.”

He adds, “But here I think it has to do with, for me, the concept of Jesus, this idea of Jesus. Who he is, what is he, and what does it mean to me personally, and why am I going there? Maybe I’ll find the way. I don’t think I’ll find an answer, but I’m going to try to maneuver my way through it to maybe come to some sort of a sense of peace, really, or at least some sort of comfort––not for myself, for others, we hope. Sometimes these things speak to other people, too. I mean, Silence did. Last Temptation [of Christ] did. Many people told me that, others not. That’s all I know, really.”

The conversation also touches on landmark viewing experiences for Scorsese, including works by Bergman, Antonioni, and Pasolini, why it’s important to wear the right shoes while on set, how Cassavettes convinced him to make Mean Streets, crafting his female characters, how each of his films is a separate universe and why he doesn’t want to revisit certain works, and much more.

Watch below, with the conversation beginning around the 14-minute mark.

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