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All right. I know the ahems are coming, but all I could find was Alan's summary.

spoilers1.gif

I just saw this movie. Parts of it grabbed me - like Robert de Niro's trying to atone for his killing his brother - dragging that huge burden up the mountain - and weeping after the ordeal was over.

Yet, if you think about it, Christians don't have to drag a burden up a hill - or do we? Is this a more powerful way of getting in touch with our feelings and finally feeling sorrowful and forgiven? What about Christ's death on the cross paying for our sins. What about that in relation to this movie?

Jung says every man should bear his own cross and not project our sins on Jesus.

Anyway, the movie made me think about this. (Looked like de Niro was bearing his own cross.)

Other than that, the scenery was beautiful, the 3 male leads were wonderful (I could never have imagined Robert de Niro in such a role, but he was good in it.)

(And I could not help but be reminded of Ki-duk Kim's "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring" when I saw de Niro dragging that burden up the mountain.)

The movie as a whole might be "spiritual." But it was confusing near the end and left me wondering...

Sara

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Personally, dragging the burden up the hill reminded me strongly of Pilgrim's Progress - although in that the sin may be original, as opposed to that in The Mission, which is a very particular instance of sin.

That's just how eye roll.

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Personally, dragging the burden up the hill reminded me strongly of Pilgrim's Progress - although in that the sin may be original, as opposed to that in The Mission, which is a very particular instance of sin.

How do we atone for original sin? Is it in a different category from things we do daily to our fellow man?

Did Christ's death on the Cross atone for our original sin (which I had nothing to do with) and not our daily sins?

(By the way, thanks to whoever put the SPOILER up on my post. I should have done that.)

Sara

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FWIW, The Mission turns up in the titles to two existing threads, but in both threads it is combined with another film (in one, Lawrence of Arabia; in the other, Magnolia) which dominates the discussion -- or at any rate, there aren't more than a few comments about The Mission itself.

BTW, Sara, if you did find something but couldn't follow it up thread-like, feel free to link to it.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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My take is slightly different I think, which is more that the sack carrying is for DeNiro's to understand himself as forgiven, rather than to make him forgiven.

AS for the ending, that is one of the movies stengths IMHO, becuase it doesn't hand it to you on a plate "this is how you should respond to violent attack", it gives you both perspectives simultaneously, and forces you to think around the issue a bit more.

Matt

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I agree that THE MISSION is one of the most significant spiritual and religious films made. I love it as well. That

Since 1995 we have authored a commentary on film, cinema in focus. Though we enjoy cinema as an art form, our interests lie not so much in reviewing a film as in beginning a conversation about the social and spiritual values presented. We, therefore, often rate a film higher or lower due to its message rather than its quality of acting or film-making.

Cinema In Focus Website

Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara Website

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Alan, reading your two posts on this thread makes me want to see the film again. (I have returned it to Netflix.)

I was moved beyond tears when the Indian finally cut the ropes that connected de Niro to his heavy burden. And the hugging and rejoicing and entering into fellowship that followed was beautiful.

To be cut loose from a heavy burden that one is dragging up a steep incline - how often has that happened to each of us? (Maybe not just sin and guilt, but fear or anxiety or whatever.) To be set free to live!

Anyway, I respect your deep love for this film. Makes me love it more than I did. (I kinda got lost near the end.)

I liked all of your takes on the pacifist versus the hawk - and find each appropriate.

As for the ending, I guess it asks us where will all this end. (More wars and rumors of wars...)

Sara

Edited by Sara
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  • 9 months later...

Hi, im new to these forums and i would like to ask a question. Many have argued that these indians were doomed to be exterminated, eventually because of their lack of will to change or "modernize" . besides this... what other reasons might one say that lead to the eventual destruction of these indians?

Thank you for any opinions.

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First of all: Welcome! Thanks for posting.

That's a very complex question.

One can argue that the relentless pace and voracious appetite of modernization would have inevitably led to the destruction of any weaker culture, Social Darwinism on a massive scale.

Even the issue of Christianizing the native folks brings up troubling questions. Does Christianizing make them more vulnerable to those evil folks who know how to manipulate the "Christian" system to their advantage (and to the disadvantage of the weak)?

And even so, the manner of destruction is at issue. Is assimilation the same as "destruction"? Does destruction necessarily involve the massacres seen in the film?

I see what your saying. thanks for your opinion. very well put.

So what your trying to say is that these indians are stuck in a dilemma where no matter what they do, it will lead to their destruction? or assimilation as u put it? whether they christianize (and be taken advantage of for slaving purposes) or resist and die?

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Hi, im doing a school project on this film. i must say that it moved to tears...i had no idea that these natives went through such hardships, etc. anyhoo, i was wondering if anyone could give me any help in ideas for the summary assignment. moral dilemas of the key characters, sybolism etc. i would really like this assignment to be a learning experience for me. thanks :)
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  • 3 months later...
ExKanzler
What can I say? I love this movie like few others, and for more than just what was captured on film. It really awakened me (or at least took my awareness to a new level) with regard to the artistic and social possibilities of film. Perhaps my mother's connections to latinoamerica makes me more sentimental about its subject. Perhaps my own academic concentration on the history of slavery--including this region--left me open to this film.

It was penned by one of the Great Screenwriters, played by several Great Actors, beautiful photographed, well edited, and featured IMHO one of the Great Soundtracks...has an oboe ever been used to such lovely effect in a movie? Even the stunt coordinator is (now) considered a major person in his field.

The new double-DVD edition is pretty interesting, as it has a lot of "making of" information, including that an entire tribe of native (South) Americans was relocated to be used in this film (the original peoples were wiped out IIRC). It's strange to see some of the actors, forever burned in my mind in native dress, wearing t-shirts in the additional videos. As a people, they were very aware that they were portraying another tribe, and took that responsibility very seriously.

With the exception of the European principals, there are few professional actors in the film. Director http://imdb.com/name/nm0423646/' target="_blank">Roland Joff
Edited by ExKanzler
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  • 10 months later...
ExKanzler
What can I say? I love this movie like few others, and for more than just what was captured on film. It really awakened me (or at least took my awareness to a new level) with regard to the artistic and social possibilities of film. Perhaps my mother's connections to latinoamerica makes me more sentimental about its subject. Perhaps my own academic concentration on the history of slavery--including this region--left me open to this film.

It was penned by one of the Great Screenwriters, played by several Great Actors, beautiful photographed, well edited, and featured IMHO one of the Great Soundtracks...has an oboe ever been used to such lovely effect in a movie? Even the stunt coordinator is (now) considered a major person in his field.

The new double-DVD edition is pretty interesting, as it has a lot of "making of" information, including that an entire tribe of native (South) Americans was relocated to be used in this film (the original peoples were wiped out IIRC). It's strange to see some of the actors, forever burned in my mind in native dress, wearing t-shirts in the additional videos. As a people, they were very aware that they were portraying another tribe, and took that responsibility very seriously.

With the exception of the European principals, there are few professional actors in the film. Director http://imdb.com/name/nm0423646/' target="_blank">Roland Joff

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  • 1 year later...

Hi all,

It's the first time I write in here, I discover this beautiful website last night.

I'm an italian guy and I'm doing with a friend some work with church's boys about this fantastic movie.

Because Easter is near (here we call this time "quaresima"), we're interested in aspects of the movie related with forgiveness, confession and penance. We set a little questionnaire to start discussion with the boys:

1. After brother's murder, Rodrigo tryed to kill himself of starvation. Also thanks to Padre Gabriel, he reacts and took all his weapons on the top of the mountain. What's the meaning of that action?

2. Without his extreme sofference, there can be a forgive from the indigenous?

3. After forgiveness, a new life is born. It apply also to us, in our common life?

4. To our eyes, the easy way was to leave the mission. Why the gesuits didn't do it?

5. Have you ever make a conscience decision that was bad for you?

I hope you'll forgive my bad english (and maybe someone will correct some mistake), and also that this can help some of you.

Have a nice day!

Rouge

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Great questions, Rouge...I would add (pointing to the cross):

2b) How can the indigenous forgive him and still believe in justice?

Yeah, that's good too. In fact, they have a discussion later about justice with the Cardinal.

Here are corrections, since you asked:

Thanks a lot!

(#5: Did you mean a conscious decision or a decision that was bad for your conscience? In the first case, the word isn't necessary since there's no such thing as an unconscious decision.)

I was meaning a conscious decision , something had to do but that you feel the right thing.

ON #2, this is very moving to me because Rodrigo didn't believe until that point. He bowed down, expecting to be killed, as if he could pay for his sins. It is one of the most profound portrayals of grace in any movie, period. The "indigenous" would have been within his rights to kill Rodrigo--no one could have reproached him. But instead he releases Rodrigo from the burden of his penance and in the same moment helps him to realize God released him from the burden of his sins. Amazing.

Really amazing.

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To start with, here's two questions concerning the film

(1) In your life, how has the official form of religion interfered with or disrupted the populist form of religion?

(2) In this world, are you damned if you do and damned if you don't?

I like the movie for the same reason I like "The Wire", the established system is dysfunctional. Efficiency and honesty is punished; being a toady and "juking stats" will get you promotion and affirmation. I've seen it at almost every place I've ever worked.

The story of Scripture, and the story of Jesus is the story of established religion being challenged. Established religion is like Job's friends; they come so close to being right, but they are also gravely mistaken.

Wait, aren't I being hard on religion? Don't I sound like one of those kooks who rails against organized religion? I am neither, but by the end of this composition, you may be utterly convinced that I am. I am cool and rational, but it may help one to categorize and dismiss me. If so, you have every right to do so. Alas, I am not being too hard on established religion. To paraphrase John the Baptist, it is a brood of vipers and sycophants. The older I get, the sicker it all makes me.

So, here are two more questions.

(3) Are there two histories of the Church: the official and recorded version contrasted to the unofficial, unrecorded populist version?

(4) What happened to speaking in tongues? Or healing? Or prophecy? Did it stop with the apostles, or soon thereafter? A good dispensationalist tells me the Holy Spirit is an Indian giver - gifts are given which are taken back when John on the Isle of Patmos kicks out. So, at 94 A.D. at 4:22 p.m. Esphesus Standard Time, when John expires, the Holy Spirit just happened to pull up stock or started operating in a totally different way. If that didn't happen, then what happened to cause the cessation of these activities? Is it possible, that the officials stopped practicing tongues, but that tongues was still given as a gift.

I used to be a leader in a small group, and I saw many amazing things occur. We saw breast cancer healed, prophecies, tongues, interpretation of tongues, a woman's leg grew, along with many other less dramatic, but equally compelling invasions of earth by heaven. So, that occurred, and guess how much of it my church's senior pastor knew about? Not a bit of it. Guess how much of it ever happened on a Sunday morning, our only time set aside for worship? Not a bit of it.

Here's some more questions:

(5) How is that Muslims are capable borrowing money in this nation to buy homes? Muslims don't believe in paying or charging a usury - interest rates. Are you aware that they get around American banking? Now, the New Testament calls for us not to charge a usury to anyone, not just fellow believers, which is the doctrine of Muslims and Jews. Huh? It sure would be handy for Church growth if the Church was powerful enough to effect change in people's lives during this tough economical time. It is my understanding that this is how the early Church grew. Ah, James would be so proud if true religion existed, you know, the kind that takes care of widows and orphans (or our present day equivalents).

(6) Is American Evangelical Christianity overly-entwined with capitalism? You know, some look back on Church history and criticize the Roman Catholicism for adopting the nomenclature and structure of Diocletian's Tetrarchy and reorganization of the Roman Empire. Some of that language still persists, like the word diocese is from Diocletian's reorganization. But, has American Evangelical Christianity not done the same thing by adopting the nomenclature, teachings, and management principles of 20th century American corporations?

Well... I better stop. I feel these questions are relevant to the movie, for when I watched "The Mission" all of this got stirred up in me. I watch a lot of in injustice in this world, and I can deal with most of it; it gets peddled off onto sin, Satan, or some perverse form of selfishness: self-indulgence, self-serving, self-satisfaction, self-delusion. But when the Church does it, I vomit. I can't stomach it. The one institution that is supposed to be different is more like Wal-Mart than it is like Acts chapter 2.

I sense that Christ, the Prophets, and I have something in common - we get righteously indignant at those who misrepresent righteousness. To borrow the MacArthur Foundation's motto, the Church should be "committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world." Often, it is not. This movie demonstrates that most explicitly; maybe it does so in an over-the-top way.

The Church needs to repent - do the same thing Jesus taught us - turn from self. This is my gripe, the Church looks out for its own self. It serves its own interests, and if justice or peace happens, then so be it.

Here is one final question.

(7) Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Since I have compared the Church to a self, does the church deserve life? Or, to put it another way, what do you think of this phrase "The Unexamined Church Is Not Worth Attending"?

Edited by Michael Todd

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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  • 1 year later...

FWIW, I just watched the one-hour documentary Omnibus, which comes with the two-disc set for this film. It's sort of a making-of, but it's basically concerned with the relationship between the filmmakers and the indigenous people they hired as extras etc. One of the interesting tidbits that comes up is that relationships between the South American natives and filmmakers in general were severely strained at that time because of the experience certain people had had working on Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo a few years earlier. That's not exactly surprising, but it's interesting just the same.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 6 months later...

Theater Adaptation of 'The Mission' Panned in Korea

SEOUL -- The eagerly awaited musical production of the Oscar-award winning film The Mission has had an embarrassing world premiere in South Korea, with the producers apologizing for poor performances and set problems.

After a litany of complaints and bad reviews following its opening week in Seoul, producers hastily went into damage control mode and tried to revamp the joint Italian-Korean show to revive its chances ahead of a world tour. . . .

The production tells the story of two missionaries doing volunteer work in 18th century South America.

The movie won acclaim 25 years ago for the acting of Robert De Niro and the music by Ennio Morricone, who has composed six new songs for the musical. Morricone's son Andrea is playing a prominent role as music director. . . .

In a bid to save the show, which is directed by Roland Joffe, the production company made some changes to the international cast, including adding 15 more chorus members, as well as making changes to the set. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, February 14

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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