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A 1986 drama, The Mission is a British film. The drama captures various experiences of a Jesuit missionary on a mission in South America in the 18th century. The script was written by Robert Bolt while Roland Joffe was the director. This British drama film stars Jeremy Irons, Robert De Niro, Aidan Quinn, Ray McAnally, and Liam Neeson, Cherie Lunghi. Among other prizes, the film has won the prestigious Palme d'Or and Academy Award for the most outstanding Cinematography. In the year 2007, the British film was awarded number one position in on the Church Times Top 50 Religious Films list. The film music, done by Ennio Morricone, was awarded a number 23 on the AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores. Ennio Morricone is an Italian composer. The storyline of this film was taken from a book by Father Clement J. McNaspy. Father Clement J. McNaspy was also consulted when the film was being made. The setting of this film is a waterfall. This is a suggestion that there is a combination of various stories with those of earlier on missions. The older missions were founded between the year 1610 and 1630 at Guaíra Falls, on the Paranapanema River. It is above the Guaíra Falls that slave raids in 1631 forced Guaranis and Jesuits to escape.
The climax of this film is the 1754-1756 Gurani war. During the war, the historical Gurani safeguarded their habitats against the forces from Portugal and Spain. The forces were out to implement the Treaty of Madrid. In the film, for the purposes of filming, a recreation was made by São Miguel das Missões. São Miguel das Missões was one of the Jesuit seven missions. In the film, one character, father Gabriel is loosely based on the life of Paraguayan saint and Jesuit Roque González de Santa Cruz. The mission portrays what Jesuit missionary had to endure in 18th century in South America jungle in order to change Guarani population to be Christians. However, the film illustrates cinematic act by being unpretentious and shows the virtue of courage and also honesty. Jeremy and Roberto De Niro went beyond the presentation of the film by showing the virtue of courage and deliverance.
The dominant existing passion is experienced throughout the movie until it reaches climax affecting the audience who left lifted and shattered despite being underestimated by Hollywood regulation. It ironical how it fascinated all audience that why it was watched all times so that it could be appreciated better and it was nicknamed a heavenly film. Although the main purpose of the film was show the exploration of priests who were on a mission to pass the Kingdom of God to indigenous people who had been left out by progressing civilization and technology.
The intended audience for this film seems to be the average man. The film is excellent in both religious and visual approach which was only achieved by few film series. The film shows how the local native Guaranis were persuaded by the missionary to change. They were all transformed to Christians. The visual impacts of the film are so influential.
The film revolves around fiction happenings of the surrounding that mostly involved the treaty of Madrid where the Spain surrendered part of Jesuit Paraguay to Portugal. The Jesuit leader General Ignancio Visconti ordered Jesuit Father Luis Altamiro to relocate the terrain of Spain to give it to Portugal. He supervised the reassignment of the seven missions that had been home for Guaranis and Jesuits in the 17th century. However, the Guarani protested with War to stop Spanish-Portuguese from enforcing the Treaty of Madrid. The film newly created was made of one of the seven missions and the waterfalls scenery of the film portrayed the combination of these happenings with the narrative of the older missions. However, the results of these raids contributed greatly to the fleeing of Guaranis and Jesuits. The Guarani Indians had a vow to remain in order to protect the missions they had fallen in love with after it was constructed by the priests.
The relationship between the priests and Guarani is good because Father Gabriel mission was accepted by Guarani because it portrayed a place of refuge and learning and also the willingness of Mendoza to assist at the mission. However, after Father Gabriel had known that Mendoza had committed murder he did not chase Mendoza instead he advised him to seek penance and in return he offers to assist the mission. Cardinal Altamirano loves local natives that why he is reluctant to choose between the two evils enforced by plantation owner, Spanish and Portuguese leaders. Father and Guarani debate freely over the closure of the mission. The reason why he closes the mission is to protect it from plantation owners and colonialists assault.
The relationship between Guarani’s, Indians and the priest is mutual among themselves. Father Gabriel join females, kids and Guarani to stop the Portuguese and Spanish military from invading the mission and in return they aim to convert them to Christianity. After Mendoza had joined the mission he was awarded a present of a bible. Father Gabriel protested against slave trade and his main aim was convert natives to be Christians although the end result was a battle that was unavoidable.
However, after mission are constructed the indigenous mode of life transformed. The Jesuits missions were mostly defended by Spanish laws because they were situated in the Spanish region. After construction of the mission the natives forgot their peaceful lifestyle and adopted the art of war. The natives were indulged into slavery as it was imposed by Spanish laws and the Indians lost their land to Spanish. The Guarani theme composed of indigenous styles and instruments was replaced with Spanish theme. The choir composed native inhabitants had a performance that was memorable of "Ave Maria" in their local language. Guarani and Indians greatly accepted Christianity
Tension mounted up between the states and Jesuit after loss of land where mission were situated was granted Portuguese and Portuguese condoned slavery. The Portuguese attempted to enslave the indigenous population as the independent Jesuit made effort to stop that action. However, this was stopped by priest sent from Vatican to access the mission and make decision if the mission were to be abolished. After the treaty of Madrid was signed tension emerged among the states and Jesuits Since the missions in all South America were closed by the pope and this provoked Mendoza to act violent despite having taken the vow of nonviolence ,poverty, chastity and obedience in order to be Jesuit.
However, tension developed between Mendoza who was considered a Jesuit and Father Gabriel despite taking a vow of nonviolence. Mendoza makes up his mind to violate to his vows in order to guard the Mission against Father Gabriel's wishes, he trained the inhabitants the skill of war and once more takes up he took matter into his own hand. Spain and Portugal signed a treaty of Madrid that enabled them to acquire several properties without war and enacting force to inhabitants because it clearly illustrated borders of South America. The impacts of the Treaty is that Indians lose their land to Portugal and all Jesuit mission are shut down by the pope and Indian who were inhabitants are sold to slave traders.
Mendoza is described as a slave trader and a colonial imperialist who murdered his own brother. For this he seeks self-punishment for his sins by becoming a missionary. For mission, he joins Father Gabriel’s group because it was a wealthy one and the most provocative. The act of military soldiers attacking the women, priest and killing them in presence a cross and monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament is blasphemy as they made attempt fight for rights of native population.
Historically, the Mission is founded on various occurrences surrounding the 1750 treaty of Madrid, where Spain relinquished a part of Jesuit Paraguay to Portugal. "Altamirano", is the narrator in the film. Speaking in retrospection in 1758, "Altamirano", corresponds the real Andalusian Jesuit Father Luis Altamirano. Luis Altamirano was sent on a mission of transferring the Jesuit Paraguay to Portugal from Spain by Jesuit Superior General Ignacio Visconti. On his mission, Altamirano oversaw the transferring of seven Jesuit missions in Río Uruguay, where they had been settled in the 1970s by Guaranis and Jesuits. During the operation, each Jesuit mission was promised 4,000 pesos while their livestock, cultivated lands and buildings were estimated to be over 16 million pesos. The battle towards the end of the film brings to mind the 1641 eight-day Battle of Mbororé. The battle was fought on both land and in boats on rivers. During the battle, the Guarani forces fire equipped and organized by Jesuit stopped the Paulista raiders.