THE MISSION
DIRECTOR: ROLLAND JOFFE
USA/BRAZIL 1986
MUSIC: ENNIO MORRICONE
PHOTOGRAPHY: CHRIS MENGER
CAST: ROBERT DE NIRO, JEREMY IRONS
SUPER FEATURES: THE JUNGLE. THE INDIANS.


If this isn't a good film, at least is just simply gorgeous, and I mean just beautiful looking, colorful, and shows an area of the world that is really lush...the story is worthy of the beauty, were it not for the colonial interests which eventually kill everything and every one. It is a film about the Jesuits and the work they did with the Indians in the southern area (actually through out all of Latin America) of the amazon near Iguacu Falls where three rivers meet.

Through out history, the Jesuits, have always done well wherever they went, because they really marched to an individual drum, which was good for the Indians, and helped in educating them, but was bad for the Portuguese and the church interests, who decide to wipe out all of them, to be able to reach the rich lands they seek.

In the midst of this fight is the independent Jesuit leader, played by Jeremy Irons, and a mercenary trader, played by Robert DeNiro, who comes to join them as friend, and fighter after being 'converted' and accepted.

The beauty of this film is that it is Faithful to itself and the cause. The ugliness is that the colonial invaders, are merciless, and believe their reason is justified and superior to any other. And this type of reasoning ends in a mass slaughter, even as the Jesuit priest holds up the Eucharist in front of him and the Indians. It makes a powerful statement about true love and spirit, rather than greed and egomaniacal thinking. And in between, are the largest patches of beauty you have ever seen, near the immense waterfalls of the rivers, where these Indians fish, bathe and live.

Editorial: The main difference between the Indians in South America and the rest of the Latin and North American Indians is that they survived. There were many exterminating excursions, but in many cases, specially Brazil, they were simply too far in and the track to get to them was way difficult. It's hard not to imagine that a lot of this conscience and inward spirit did not survive, unlike it's counterparts in both Latin and North America, where they were almost all extinguished. The Jesuits thought that converting them would be a good thing, and in general, they meant well, however, like many others, they did have their faults here and there, and might not exactly be clean, but Brazilian history lists many that were good and there are many places named after them for it.

And there is a certain beauty and love in the film that is infectious and totally amazing, and helps make this a much more important film than otherwise. It may be that the film likes to show the Native Indians as natural as possible, and not actors, and this might make it all valuable. And them showing us in their own way how they survive and do things is quite a treat. It's difficult to find literature, for example, and works that detail that for the Latin and North American Indians. It's out there, but generally not very visible. At the moment I can only think of one or two. Ruth Beebe Hill and Dee Brown.

This film has wonderful music.

There are many times when the Indians show us how they survive.

WORTH SEEING IT.

4 GIBLOONS

 

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