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October 21, 2018, 12:22:21 PM
608212 Posts in 46934 Topics by 6242 Members
Latest Member: LoriMatney Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  The Mission/Black Robe « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Mission/Black Robe  (Read 296 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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The world becomes a dream....

« on: October 12, 2017, 08:39:18 AM »

I remember (very) occasionally in twelfth grade the instructor of our two-hours a day AP philosophy class would show us movies in order to augment various points in the curriculum, and two of these were the movies I mentioned up above. (Others were Schindler's List, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, The Bible, and Becket.)

The Mission is guilt on steroids, as a soldier, played by Robert DeNiro, seeks to atone for the blood-sin of fratricide one can almost see dripping from his hands throughout the film. Rare for its setting, a mission in the jungles of 1700s South America, this study in psychological redemption struggled to find an audience at the time of its release but is considered something of a classic now by those willing to invest the patience and contemplation it demands. It drifts into PC a bit here and there but at its heart it is in line with the doctrine of expiation of personal wrongdoing that is central to Roman Catholicism, human works being an important component of the faith along with superhuman grace.

1991's Black Robe was in my estimation a much better film. A Canadian production set in 1600s Quebec, it depicts a Jesuit who leaves behind the luxuries of France in order to take his message to the savage frontier. Two scenes to watch for, one in which a native shoots a bird out of the sky with an arrow, the other is where a gathering of Algonquins think a clock is the chieftain of the white men. There's also torture, mutilation, steadfast faith as a driving force, and the visual glory of the boreal wilderness. In any intelligent viewer Black Robe does invariably raise the question of whether the arrogance of going amid a people and telling them the way they live is all wrong can ever be justified. I also recall there was something mildly shocking about the fact the teacher, himself a Jesuit priest, left in the nudity and sex scene when he showed Black Robe, something that had only happened once before in high school, that being the time we watched Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet in ninth grade.

Catch The Mission if you're in a heavy mood, and Black Robe when you're wanting something with a more rapid pace but still with a strongly intelligent tone. Both are fine movies, and neither are very well known.

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2017, 03:29:48 PM »

I have seen both of them, and I rate both highly as a slice of history. If this makes sense, while The Mission is a film pitched more toward the mass audience, Black Robe is probably the better films. Still, as I said both are worth seeing, as the novels are worth reading. Black Robe being based on the book by Canadian Brian Moore, and while The Mission was an original screenplay, the screenplay was turned into a tie-in paperback.
Dedicated Viewer

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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 05:45:31 AM »

I saw Black Robe years ago and remember liking it.  especially the scene where he is suddenly abandoned in the woods.
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