Movie: The Mission


Meena Throngkumpola

The movie, "The Mission," is about how the Spanish in cooperation with
Pourtugal try to get the Jesuits off land negotiated by the two countries. The
Spanish Church sends people into Asuncion, Paraguay to persuade the Jesuits to
get off the land. The film includes spiritual and political activities the are
reflected through the church, natives, and the Jesuits.
What the movie mainly tried to show was that the Church wanted to
maintain control over the Jesuits. To show that control, they went to Paraguay
and tried to persuade the Jesuits to leave. The Spanish allowed them to take
care of the matter to prove that. Spain and Portugal had negotiated the treaty
of Tordesillias. In this treaty the two countries split the western world into
two parts where Spain can have one half and Portugal the other. In the newer
version of the treaty, the line that split the land was moved in favor of
Portugal. On that land, missionaries had already set up missions. To better
the economy for Portugal, the Spanish Church was sent in to get the Jesuits out.
The would be effected by the continuation of the Jesuits because of the slave
trade. If the Jesuits stayed, the Indians would have a spiritual leader . To
brake their faith the Jesuits would have to be removed.
Near the end of the movie, the Spanish do try to break the faith of the
Indians. Father John is seen carrying a cross with many natives following behind
him. He is killed purposely, and even though he is down, the native faith is
still there. A young native boy picks up the cross and assumes the role of
father proving that killing the head leader does not kill the faith.
One aspect of the movie was the technology. The Indians were attacked by
a powerful weapon, and that was the weapon of being inferior to a race that had
a different way of life. The Indians were introduced to guns, complex musical
instruments, and simplicities such as clothing. These new things changed their
life. In the battle scene, the Indians steal gun powder from the Spanish. The
gun powder is then used by the Indians to their advantage. By using home made
cannons, they are not totally helpless to the cannons and bullets of the
opposing side. One of the most memorable scenes of the movie shows the small
native girl picking up a destroyed violin and taking it with her with many more
children on a canoe. The only reason I can see for that scene is to represent
that even though the children are leaving the area to get away from the bad
people, they will never fully forget what happened to them as they encountered
the white men. The sequences where the same girl sees her own people dying
shows that even though these people were bad, they had made an impact that would
not be forgotten.
This movie, "The Mission," shows many of the negative effects of
European expansion. It reflects the many political and spiritual struggles that
the people faces, and shows that expansion of the west was not a pretty or
glorious chapter of history.

Category: Music and Movies