Essay on Film Analysis: The Mision

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The movie, The Mission (1986), depicts events in South America, likely in what is now the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In the movie, a slave trader named Rodrigo Mendoza, played by Robert De Niro, makes his living by capturing slaves and bringing them to the Spanish Governor’s plantation. There, he catches his fiancée sleeping with his younger half-brother, which causes him, in a rage, to kill his younger brother. Due to this, he eventually joins a Jesuit mission. After coming into contact with a group of natives, and being accepted by them, he formally takes the vows to become a Jesuit priest. When the land their mission is on switches hands from the Spanish to the Portuguese, however, the safety of their mission is put into question, due…show more content…
The movie often seemed without direction, and, admittedly, failed to capture my interest. The performance of Ray McAnnally, as Cardinal Altamirano, was probably the best in the entire film. He portrayed being divided between wanting to help the natives and priests and wanting to preserve the church in Europe masterfully. Aside from McAnnally, however, the rest of the cast portrayed their roles poorly, which, combined with a subpar script and direction, led to a film that was forgettable on the whole. Historically, as I mentioned, this film offers a different perspective than the one that we had seen in class. Rather than seeing Pombal’s reforms, particularly his views of the Jesuits, as positive for Brazil, the film shows their impact on the Jesuits in Brazil and the people that relied on them. The film also depicts the Treaty of Madrid, which decided the boundaries between the Spanish viceroyalties of Peru and Rio de la Plata and the western portions of Brazil. The film also took place in 1750, before Pombal had come into power. At this point, the Portuguese crown didn’t have a problem with the Jesuits, which takes away a lot of the reasoning behind closing the mission. Another reason, the taking of native slaves, doesn’t really work either, because, at this point, the Atlantic slave trade, which brought Brazil a staggering amount of slaves, was in full swing. In these two reasons, the basis of the movie’s grand finale is gone. Aside from this, the events in the

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