MovieChat Forums > The Mission (1986) Discussion > The reason I despise this movie

The reason I despise this movie


This movie was a total glorification of the cocept of "The White Man's Burden." This was a concept that was born around the age of exploration that essentially said that it was the white man's responsibility to convert everyone to Christianity in order to save their souls. I don't really need to point out that this is one of the most disgustingly arrogant and racist concepts in history, basically stating that all non-Christians are heathens and are all going to hell unless they convert to the words of Jesus. Granted, I know that was a different time, but why in 1986 were we still glorifying this concept. In this film, you have these Jesuits who just come into this tribe, force the words of christianity on them, have them build churches and abandon their old ways and beliefs, because their old beliefs obviously weren't good enough. And the film makes it look so riteous and good. I know that one can make the argument that the people were happy to change their lives to Christianity, but in all seriousness, and I don't mean this in any kind of a racist way, these natives had no concept of the outside world, so when this mysterious man with different color skin comes out of the jungle and tells them these things, they're obviously going to be more suseptable to the indoctrination. The Jesuits were essentially exploiting the native's ignorances, which were reasonable for them to have.


"We're going to make Christains out of these people." WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH THEIR OLD BELIEFES AND WHY ARE WE GLORIFYING THIS KIND OF INDOCTRINATION!!!



And by the way, I know I can't spell to save my life, and there's no spell check on here.

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If you are a Christian today you still believe that if you don't believe in Jesus you can't go to Heaven to be with Him. Unless you believe that you can't be a Christian, doesn't matter if you're Catholic or protestant.

As to your comment, how can they make a movie and not focus on this concept if its a movie about those old times. You said it yourself that its the beliefs of the time, so how can the movie not portray it that way?

You might find "White Man's Burden" to be a racist concept, but I fail to see how its racist.

If Christians, whether white or other color, believe that the only way to go to Heaven is to convert people (notice I write convert, not force) can you blame them for it?

I do not see how you can say that the natives were exploited. Can you explain?

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To answer your question vortexrider, and thanks for giving a laid back response rather than being a total a***ole like so many who comment on this site, my problem was not the fact that they focused the concept of white man's burden, but that they made it seem like a just concept. They way the film portrays the missionaries and natives building churches, wearing white cloths, and being fed the words of the gospel almost, to me anyways, comes off as being almost evangelical, or mabey that's not the right word I don't know. Like, it seems that intended responce from the audience is supposed to be, "Oh good for them, they're finally following the words of Jesus and Christianity and leaving behind their old dirty ways."

I do believe the natives were exploited just because their minimized knowledge of the world and limited intelligence made them very suseptable to the conversion that the missionaries were putting on them.

And you also have to ask yourself, if people believe that if everyone doesn't follow their way of thinking they will burn in an eternity of torture, how can you not see such a level of arrogance in that. I mean, if that comes with the terriroty of a belief or religion, I don't think that's a very comendable religion, especially how Christianity always talks about the infinite love of God. But then again, we could go on and on for days about the obvious hypocracies of religion, especially Christianity. The concept of White Man's Burden itself isn't actually racist, but more those who acted on it thinking that all non-white Christians are heathens were racist. The concept itself is really just arrogant, and the racism is more with those who followed it.

Again, I don't disagree that a movie portraying this time period shouldn't show this concept, but I don't think that it should actually be portraying it as a good concept.

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I'd like to point out the contradiction involved in decrying the movie's glorification of imperialist ideology, i.e. the white man's burden, and then assuming that indigenous peoples could be evangelized only because of their "ignorance" and "limited intelligence".

I do agree that this film is ethnocentric; it portrays the Jesuit influence on the Guaraní as categorically positive and makes white people the central figures of an indigenous struggle for self-determination. A more challenging and interesting film would have told the story from the point of view of Guarani, showing the Europeans - Jesuit and slave traders alike - as the Others.

But I don't think this film works an apology for imperialism. It is true that the Jesuit missionaries, from the early 1600s to the 1760s, did actively protect the Guaraní from the depredations of the slave trade, and that the economic production in the mission communities was operated collectively, without owners, and with the Guaraní free to use their own language and engage in other traditional cultural practices.

Even more importantly, I think, the movie came out at a time when Catholic priests influenced by liberation theology were joining in the struggles, sometimes armed, against oppressive governments seeking to wipe out indigenous cultures once and for all - throughout Latin America, but especially in El Salvador and Guatemala. These governments, not coincidentally, were aided and abetted by the Reagan administration, which under the flag of 'anticommunism' was stamping out any form of social democracy that might stand in the way of American corporate interests.

In that context, I think the movie tries to construct a situation in which a privileged, somewhat sheltered white audience will project themselves into the story in a way that leads them to feel outraged by violence against indigenous peoples and sympathy for their struggles. Which is not to say that it's above criticism ... but I know that for myself, when I saw this film 20 years ago it left a lasting impression on me and was part of my becoming sensitive to the fundamental injustice of colonialism.

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And how about such governments that were not "aided and abetted", and actually quite on contrary? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086936/

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Great review. I think the film presents the audience with the failure of both clerics in the face of colonialism.

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Thanks for posting such a well thought out and detailed response. I recognize some of the flaws in this film but ultimately I love this movie because of the reasons that you cited.

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<<<I do believe the natives were exploited just because their minimized knowledge of the world and limited intelligence made them very suseptable to the conversion that the missionaries were putting on them.>>>>

limited intelligence?? who are you to judge??? you can't even spell 'susceptible' and yet you cast aspersions regarding these amerindians' intelligence level?? hilarious... arrogance and hypocrisy seem to be the predominant traits of those who merely look for 'excuses' to bash this fine, thought-provoking film. besides, the amerindians were not exploited for they were not being held against their will.. they were merely being presented with another option other than violence, and they were always free to leave the mission.

<<<<Again, I don't disagree that a movie portraying this time period shouldn't show this concept, but I don't think that it should actually be portraying it as a good concept.>>>>>

the focus of this movie isn't the catholic faith itself or christianity.. this movie is about the flawed humanity of mere men and it merely depicts the actions of a group of europeans who devoted their lives to rescuing the amerindian natives from the encroachment of the slave trade.

there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that angle.

the truth is that many missionaries gave their lives selflessly while trying to bring better living conditions to amerindian natives, and they deserve to have their collective memory honored for their love and devotion and their heroism ought to be truly inspiring to both christians and non-christians.

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And you also have to ask yourself, if people believe that if everyone doesn't follow their way of thinking they will burn in an eternity of torture, how can you not see such a level of arrogance in that.

I also am happy that a conversation like this can go on without either people being jerks about it. I'm a Christian. I believe that there is one way to heaven, through accepting Jesus Christ. What I don't understand about what you said is the arrogance in that. I didn't make it up. I believe that this is the truth, that before I became a Christian, before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I was going to go to hell when I died. What is arrogant about that. I am no better than anyone else. In fact, one of the greatest Christians of all time, Paul said that he was the worst of sinners. Nothing arrogant about that.

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Really? is that why catholics & orthodox slaughtered one another for a few centuries calling the other heretic and blasphemers? I like the way christianity sells tyrannical dictatorship under the guise of love, you cannot go to heaven unless you believe in jesus...why? because he died for the sins of others...did those people ask him to do so? nope..but yet he is asking for suspension of belief & logic by listening to & obeying the church to go to heaven!
In actual fact, jesus, or rather yeshua, was talking to jews of his time, not to europeans or africans or anyone else. If his message was to everyone as its falsely claimed, he would have gone along to other lands & given them his message in their own language & given them one that actually helps in life!

" Let's go get a drink & smoke a cigarette"

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The film lost all credibility for me when the Guarani expressed that they didn't want to go back to the jungle because that was where the devil lived.

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Somehow you seemed to have missed the core of this movie and what it was saying. To me it seems to have said just the opposite. It is the Christains in this movie who are plagued by their conscious, because of what they see being done to these Native peoples. It is the missionaries without the spirit and soul. Give it another watch. It is worth it. It is the Christian angst that makes the movie ite is.

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I so agree with NearyJ34. It's been a while since I've seen this movie, tho am contemplating it for a discussion at my (Catholic) parish. But everything I remember is that it questions the "conquistador" approach to Christianity rather than condones it. You see the missionaries' singlemindedness and zeal, but you see how humanly flawed they are as well -- thereby flawed in arrogantly believing they were so superior. For another, I should point out that Fr. Daniel Berrigan, the famous liberal political-activist priest, plays one of the extras -- a real Jesuit playing a fictional one, if I recall -- and, believe me, he wouldn't be caught dead in a production that glorified the ways missionary zeal could often trample on natives' inherent human dignity. If anything, I seemed to remember that this film promoted a bit of the "noble savage" view of life.

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Yes, it's been a while since I watched this film, but I too seem to recall that, in both tone and substance, it portrayed the tragic consequences for everyone involved of the "white man's burden" mind-set. Give it another look--I plan to.

The image which sticks in my mind is the iconic one of the priest (irons?) on the cross going over the waterfall.

And Vortexrider...not ALL Christians believe all non-Christians are going to hell. I realize that some Christians mark the boundaries this way and refuse to call those less concrete-minded than themselves "Christians"--the Jesuits and the conquistadors portrayed in the film certainly would have held this view--but then that's one of the lessons I took from the movie: the danger to all of our continued survival when dogma trumps reason and compassion.

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You're missing the point. Rather, Gabriel made the point that the missions were PROTECTING the natives from enslavement! Also, the jesuits made an effort to adapt to the culture by living right in the jungles with the natives.

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Uh, i agree, the movie was very boring, but after i watched it for the 2nd time, the message became very clear. I just wish the speed of the movie was faster, or something. I mean I was falling asleep. But excellent movie, besides that......

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Side note: Jesuits do not still hold this view (that all non-Christians go to hell), nor do I think any of them really did once they integrated into a culture. Even the Catholic church has said that it is possible for non-Christians to go to heaven (even though its through being "anonymous christians" - more so meaning that they have accepted right action, thought, and have pretty much lived good lives).

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Thank you NearyJ34 for your comment. I couldn't have said it better myself.

The only other thing I would say is that we cannot rewrite history to make it "nice". This is really what happened to these people. "The Patriot" is a perfect example of Hollwood messing with history. Mel Gibson's character was a plantation owner, in 1776, that didn't have slaves. He had paid servants because he was "nice". And all British were made into characters without conscience, who slaughtered several of his children because they were "evil". Talk about balderdash.

Lastly, the Jesuits were doing what they thought was best for the people AT THAT TIME. Only now do we know what it did to the natives. Since the dawn of civilization, man has done evil things with good intentions.

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I think the message of the film was a bit more complicated than just simply "white man is good, so he must save the savages from themselves." The Jesuits are made out to be the heroes/protagonists of the film, but every character and each group of characters had their flaws.

Considering that the Portuguese hired soldiers to slaughter a peaceful, native, and "Christianized" society undercuts any such portrayal of the white man as morally elevated. If anything, the movie was positing just the opposite. But such racial distinctions oversimplify the movie entirely: the Jesuits here are good people, but the men running or influencing the government are evil. So you can't just say "white man good, natives bad here." Certain white men were good; certain were bad.

While I myself do not ascribe to the Jesuit's beliefs, I can sympathize with them. Gabriel won the natives over not by the sword, not by the gun, but through his offering of peace and forgiveness (playing the oboe near the waterfall, which was a great scene).

Gabriel and his priests truly believed that their message and beliefs centering on love and forgiveness would make the world a better place. Do you seriously think that trying to spread that message, without any sort of compulsion, is a bad thing? While I myself do not ascribe to any beliefs based on religious principles or faith, I certainly sympathize with the Jesuits in this film. They did not attempt to force themselves upon the natives in any way, they lived among them, they made sure the natives kept their own culture intact. And, despite the Church and the King's orders to the contrary, they gave their lives protecting the natives.

The themes of the movie touched upon guilt, forgiveness, love, peace, and redemption. Not on the white man or his beliefs being superior.

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exactly!!!

montecristo42 made the "key" point that the Jesuits did not force the natives to believe in their God.

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I couldn't have put it better myself. Bravo Monte.

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It's been a while since I've posten on this topic from back when I started it, and it's been interesting to see what people have writen. But I think some of you missed the point of what I originally said.

I'm well aware that all the characters had their flaws, and I'm well aware of the negative light that this film shined on the conquistador (I have no idea how to spell that) approach to Christianity. My point is the much more subtle sort of satisfaction that i think the audience was intended to have during certain parts. For example, when the natives build that church and especially the excentuation of the cross being put on it, the lines like "We're going to make Christains out of these people," and so forth. I can't help but feel like the audience is supposed to subtly feel like the natives are finally taking the right path. Do I support the protection that the jesuits were giving them, of course I do. I'm not *beep* Hitler you know.

So again, to restate my point, what I personaly disliked about this film was the subtle glorification of the conversion of these natives. Some people said that they didn't see that at all. That's cool. Whatever. But I personaly saw that to a great extent. I didn't say anything about the conquistadors. I know that was also a large aspect of the film. I'm just talking about that one subtle aspect of the film that drove me to dislike it, although it had tremendous acting. Mad props for that.








Once again, I know I can't spell.

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1. you really cannot spell
2. you love Tool

try being a bit smarter next time you wanna rip on a perfectly fine movie.

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Wow, what an intelligent response.

"1. you really cannot spell
2. you love Tool"


I can't believe no one else here thought to say that. Yeah, you really proved me wrong with that well thought out response. I can't wait to hear how you draw the connection between Tool and the movie The Mission.

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How would you have known the large building was a church if they did not put a cross on it and were not familiar with the mission style?

Conquistador was spelled correctly. well done.

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Also, there is the line where the one character says "I sometimes wonder if they would have not preferred that the wind had not brought us here at all."

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Even today, the christians are the only ones who have any interest at all in the survival of many indigenous peoples from all over the world, including in south america. It is true that they have the ulterior motive of converting them, but this is a lesser of two evils. The fact is that due to contracts drawn up by the imf and world bank and signed by the governments of countries with indigenous populations, the lands that they lived on for thousands of years are literally sold out from under their feet. Not only do church groups stay behind and hlelp them defend their rights, they are also the only reliable voices that can speak out to first world about these tragedies. If it weren't for the church groups, history would have been written soley by the kings and slave traders. Columbus would still be seen as some kind of hero and not a mercenary pirate. I'm no christian, but I am very thankful for much of the work that they have done. Of course, it still doesn't make up for the Spanish Inquisition, but hey, they aint perfect!

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great post, monte!

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Why you despise this movie? because you believe that "Maynard Is God" (what a notion).
Where's the white man's burden? In his head.

The Jesuits protected the Natives from slave traders and brought two cultures together; they borrowed a concept from the Franciscans who were there before them and used the "reductiones" -bringing the people out from the jungle and helping them to build a settlement which gave them an even stronger sense of community and protection.
The Jesuits' only interest was to bring them the Gospel -what's wrong with that? Not forced conversions. I'm sure that no one had to be baptized that didn't want to be so. And if the Guarani were attracted to the person of Jesus Christ and embraced his Gospel willingly? They are far wiser in their simplicity than many of the "knowledgeable" fools of today who scorn Christ and his Gospel.

Yes, sadman, though one may learn to hate truth and fear goodness, especially when these are not so marketable as discord and dishonesty, there is, yet, a remedy: love and grace. However, cynicism often stands in the way and seals a heart in its stoneyness and pride.

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OMG, wow. So far this is the second complete idiot who has commented on this topic. I've read and heard a lot of people's opinions on this and some had some very valid points that were interesting to read and even made me see a couple of things a little differently. Then of course I'm confronted with two morons (tac-15 and starwars-25) who’ve commented on this, both using my ID name as argument points. I have now witnessed first hand proof that this world really is full of idiots. Yes, the white man's burden is an arrogant and slightly racist concept. If you don't agree then what ever. That's totally cool. The Jesuits went into South America to convert the natives because they believed that everybody who didn't worship Jesus was going to burn in an eternity of pain. I understand that that generally goes with the territory of Christianity, and don't say that I don't know what I'm talking about because I actually go to a Catholic school and have studied the bible and the church. But that doesn't mean that I have to like it.

So once again, for the last time, the aspects of this film that made the turning of the natives into Christians as a right and glorious thing drove me to dislike the film. People have been going off on all these different history rants and lessons when I'm not really even talking about history per say. I'm just talking about a cinematic viewpoint. Oh yeah, and “tac-15”, I loved that self-righteous, condescending tone you had with your little rant about cynicism at the end of your comment. Yeah, I give a cinematic opinion and your calling me Sadam. “Though one may learn to hate truth and fear goodness, especially when these are not so marketable as discord and dishonesty, there is, yet, a remedy: love and grace.” What the hell are you talking about? Stop trying to sound all high and mighty to arrogant *beep* I never said anything negative about peace love and honesty. I read well thought out and incite full comments like the ones made by “cjpowell” and “vortexrider” and then I put up with idiots like “starwars-25” who say stuff like “1. you really cannot spell 2. you love Tool. Try being a bit smarter next time you wanna rip on a perfectly fine movie” and then you.

I'm getting really *beep* sick of everyone on here twisting my words around, so I'm just ganna stop commenting on this.

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one thing i'll give you, there are obviously some very Pro-Christian people here who also fail to see the complexities in all this (and trust me, I'm no hater on Christians or especially the Jesuits who often were the smartest of their group and scorned by other Catholics, especially when it came to this and Span and Portugal wanted the natives for labor.) Still, let's not go into "everyone hates Jesus lol" and all that bs about how somehow Christianity ISN'T the biggest religion on Earth and one that got there sometimes by force, very different than what The Mission shows. Nobody has completely clean hands.

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I'm sorry if you get so easily annoyed, but years on these boards make people learn to ignore people like starwars-25. I hope you'll succeed to go beyond them.

And I hope that now and then you still visit this board; I'll do my best to avoid being annoying.

The fact is that these Jesuits left their world because they so strongly believed in something. They could have stayed in their warm and safe churches, enjoy benefits of respectable and rich affiliation within Catholic church, like monarchs stayed in their castles, like Pope stayed in Rome, like modern presidents stay surrounded by their guards in their residences in Washington (searching for virtual weapons in Iraq and bravely conquering forces like Grenada), Moscow (exporting revolution to African nations that never heard of it, and weapons to achieve it), Tehran (bravely sending children to clean the minefields and enable soldiers to be shot), Tel Aviv, Pyongyang, London...

But these people chose, because of their firm belief that it is not for benefit of Christianity, but for benefit of the Guarani or any other non-baptized nation in the world, to sacrifice their commodity, position, security. They left everything to spend lifetime in conditions that noone of us would probably ever chose. They did it with the same passion as Curie, Pasteur, Lister, Edison, Dunant, Coubertin or Champollion had in their life and work. But noone doubts their motifs. As long as not related to religion.

The Jesuits changed their life incomparably more than Guarani had. What did happen so wrong in their existance due to jezuits' arrival? If Jesuits hadn't gone there, Guarani still wouldn't have better future. Jesuits, in the end, din't help them and didn't aggravate their destiny either. As long as non-religious forces were away (and today western democracy is so proud of being civilian and secular, avoiding even mentioning its christian origins) there had been no violence. Yes, there was a white men burdon, but it was not brought by jesuits. It was brought by soldiers, merchants, politicians and those church people who were in close relations to conquerors because of certain interests of their own.

And some movies have been made from that point of view. But do all movies about certain topic, age, event have to show always the same side? Do you find Schindler's list a blasphemy because of showing a German (even a member of nazi party) as human, capable of doing something good?

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MOTIF = literary term.
MOTIVE= what you meant.

Sorry for such a frivolous post, but i thought it was funny

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Sorry? No, I'm, grateful.

Funny? No, helpful.

In fact I was using a word "motive" before, but as I've read some posters that (obviously mis)used the word "motif", I thought that they know English better than me (and even felt ashamed for the mistakes that I had done). I should have checked the dictionary instead.

Anyway, thanks again.

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"So once again, for the last time, the aspects of this film that made the turning of the natives into Christians as a right and glorious thing drove me to dislike the film."

The film does not do that. People may see some of the religious figures as heroic and, thus, assume that the film portrays all their actions as heroic. But it does no such thing. It is common for people to give this reading to films becuase people are used to seeing white hat characters in their entertainment. However, what the film does is portray a variety of actions and their consequences. Indeed, we see some of the natives return to the jungle and it seems that this is perhaps the best outcome as they others lead to slavery, death from fighting, or death from passive resistance. So...hardly a film that is cheerleading European culture.

Regarding the lack of depth to some that respond to you: you just have to get used to that around here and ignore them. Don't let them turn you off. At least, I hope they haven't.

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Wow Maynard, what an over simplification. The sub plot, if you would like to call it that, is one of sin and forgiveness. Rodrigo commits murder most foul and cannot forgive himself much less accept forgiveness. The theme of a "burden" is definately there but it's not "white man's" it a literal burden.....a penance if you will. Mendoza drags it through the jungle until it is again literally cut loose from him. The most powerful scene IMO. Metanoia. Forgiveness both of self and of others and consequestly conversion. It is in these scenes where the Cinematography oscar is earned I think! A certain kind of person cannot "get" a certan kind of movie. I walked out of "Borat" and will never "get" Will Farrell. That's just me. Your screen name suggests you will never "get" this movie, Maynard. The Politics of Portugal in that time, slavery, protection from slavery, you let you anti christian agenda cloud your sight. The exploitation of these natives was carried out by the slave hunters of which Mendoza was one before committing murder. His conscience got the best of him. Would that we ALL could experience forgiveness on the level he did!!! This is a story of conversion on many levels. I'm sorry you missed it.

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This will be my first post on here. Just wanted to say thank you to all who posted, good or bad, regarding the subject and intent of the film. Having not watched it yet I feel I will now do so a slightly more enlightened soul, if you'll pardon the phrase.
Much obliged.

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Quote from you: "This was a concept that was born around the age of exploration that essentially said that it was the white man's responsibility to convert everyone to Christianity in order to save their souls. I don't really need to point out that this is one of the most disgustingly arrogant and racist concepts in history, basically stating that all non-Christians are heathens and are all going to hell unless they convert to the words of Jesus."

Well, considering that Christianity started in a completely different race, you're wrong there. In fact, when it spread, originally, it was Middle Eastern primarily and into the races around there, spreading on over to those races of the East and also of the Far East, as it made it into India. In fact, it made it up to the English areas, before there ever was an England. And it spread world-wide, through many races, before there was ever a Western culture, as we have today.

The Western nations were not the perpetrators of Christianity, they were the recipients of Christianity, having received it from other races and other countries -- first -- before it ever becames established in the "West". Heck, there wasn't even a "West" yet.

And today, that's still true. You find Christians in Africa, who claim that their own heritage goes back to the days of Israel and not from some Western nation. In many countries around the world where in past years missionaries were unable to get into the countries, those countries and their native citizens spread /Christianity within their own borders by their own people.

In fact, it's highly arguable that Christianity is less a "white man's religion that it's a religion of the world, containg more people of color than of whites. I would venture to say that white are far outnumbered in that way.

So, your understanding an analysis is deeply flawed and shows an extreme ignorance of how Christianity started, how it was spread, and what people groups it consists of today. You need to do a bit more studying on the topic before you open your mouth again and embarass yourself even further...

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Part of why I love movies is how they make me feel, and how they get me thinking. This movie was achingly beautiful to watch (cinematography), broke my heart listening to it (music - IMHO Morricone's best), and the themes of guilt, redemption, exploitation and futility were very powerful to me. I can understand how someone else with a different background, temperament and sensibility than me might take something completely different away from it, however.

I think - and this is personal opinion, not fact - that the OP's comments on "white man's burden" were understandable, but I didn't see it the same way and after many viewings over the past 20 years I still don't see it.

If anything, I viewed the Jesuits' presence in much the same way that those living 200+ years from now might very well view my attitudes and opinions: as being a product of my culture and time, some good, some not so good, some potentially wise and enlightening, some ignorant and destructive.

I've never watched this film - and I've seen it multiple times - with the thought that the Jesuits' converting the natives was something "good" for the natives. I understood the Jesuits' motives, but motive alone isn't enough to ensure a morally satisfactory outcome. You know what they say about the road to hell.... Anyway, I put much of it into historical context, and while I might appreciate and even deeply admire Gabriel's motives and methods they weren't enough to compensate for or ward off what ultimately happened.

Perhaps I'm not making sense - for me, this movie is not meant to glorify anything, very least of all religion or Christianity. If anything, it could be used as an indictment against same along with colonialism. Human frailty combined with the futility of doing what one thinks is right against a far more powerful enemy makes for compelling cinema - for me, anyway.

This is ultimately a beautiful, tragic movie - always makes me cry. It is a complex, not easily pigeonholed look at the clash of colonialism, evangelistic religion and how some societies have been crushed underneath both yokes when having the misfortune to encounter both at the same time.

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I think you're missing the point. While they were definitely missionaries out to spread the word of God, the fundamental truth they were preaching was that they were more than the men and women who lived viciously in a jungle. There was much more beauty and technology in the world that could make their struggle to exist as human beings simpler. Running water, music, planting crops, etc.

You will remember Gabriel answering that 'some had converted,' but that it did not seem as big a concern to him as protecting so-called primitive people from slavery. The fact that it was a missonary who took on this role is inconsequential to the story. Do you not recall the scene where he first encounteres the Guarani and begins to play music? Remember how the younger warrior reacted? It was not God, but music that brought out this response.

Do not see this is a 'Christians must save the world' type of movie. This is not a religious epic, this is a human tale, a struggle against slavery and the 'ways of the world.'

Hontar: "We must work in the world, your eminence. The world is thus."
Altamirano: "No, Señor Hontar. Thus have we made the world. Thus have I made it."

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