The Mission: Inaccurate Portrayals of the Guarani and Jesuit Relations
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The film “The Mission” (1986) was written by Robert Bolt and directed by Roland Joffe. It explores the various relationships distinguished between Spanish Jesuits and Indian (Guarani) civilization situated along the borders of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil around 1750. Although, as stated in the beginning of the movie that “The Mission” is “based on true historical events”, Bolt and Joffe distort the portrayal of the Guarani and Jesuit relationships. This essay will examine the distortions of the Guarani tribe and the inaccurate “historical” events that took place within the movie. Although many historical filmmakers alter some events and use fiction as a tool in providing an accurate historical representation, the makers of “The…show more content… Although these interpretations are wrong, a face painted Indian that hunts for food with a bow and arrow is more accepted than an Indian wearing pants and a shirt. This simple generalization could be a possible reason as to why Joffe and Bolt used Stereotyping within the film. A stereotypical Indian is a way of adapting to society’s image in order to make the film more understandable to the public.
The Jesuit missionaries were also falsely represented in the film. They were rendered as heroic, very kind and almost Christ like in the movie. “They were martyrs and defenders of Indian rights.” They used nothing but the word and teachings of God to persuade the Guarani, and allowed the tribe to behave as they wished. Actual Jesuit missionaries of the 1700s did not defend Indian rights. With the development of missions, there came various rules and regulations that Jesuits and the Spanish were adamant on enforcing. Jesuits required that women wore cotton gowns and were not permitted to reveal private areas of the body. They also segregated males, females and children by gender. Women were placed in institutions in order to preserve their virginity for the reason that Jesuits believed it was honourable to become celibate. Joffe and Bolt illustrate that men and women were consistently in the presence of one another and often revealed their bodies. “The film overlooks how catholic missionaries imposed more