Jeremy Irons plays a Spanish Jesuit who goes into the South American wilderness to build a mission in the hope of converting the Indians of the region. Robert DeNiro plays a slave hunter who is converted and joins Irons in his mission. When Spain sells the colony to Portugal, they are forced to defend all they have built against the Portuguese aggressors. Written by
Many of the people who played the natives were actual native South Americans who spoke little English. They were given free reign to say whatever lines they wanted, and it is rumored that in a couple scenes they're actually cursing up a storm. See more »
Indian characters don't speak Guarani - the language of the Paraguayan Indians - but Wawnana - the language of the Colombian Indians who performed in the movie. See more »
Your Holiness, the little matter that brought me here to the furthest edge of your light on Earth is now settled. The Indians are once more free to be enslaved by the Spanish and Portuguese settlers. I don't think that's hitting the right note. Begin again... Your Holiness, I write to you in this year of Our Lord 1758 from the southern continent of the Americas, from the town of Asunción, in the Province of La Plata, two weeks march from the great mission of San Miguel. These ...
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At the film's very end, after the final credits, Altimarano gives the audience an ambiguous, almost accusing look, as if he were asking it, "Would you or would you not have done this?" See more »
While at college I was given the assignment of producing a 30 minute talk on the 'Guarana Republic' which is off course the subject matter of this movie. Hailing from the Protestant part of Europe I had never even heard about this aspect of Jesuit missionary work before, but as I researched the matter I became fascinated. So when I heard that a movie had been made about this topic I went to see it as soon as possible. Knowing how the film industry tended to treat historical events I was somewhat suspicious, but I was pleasantly surprised. This movie instantly became one of my all time favourites. I think the subject matter is handled sensitively and sensibly and the cinematography is stunning. What also impressed me was the clever way in which this story, which in reality spanned several generations, was compressed into a period of about ten years without becoming unbelievable. Even in a two hour movie there is a limit on what one can touch on, but I think that a good balance between dialogue, adventure, action, and character development, was struck. Even so if the movie would have lasted another hour I would still have been happy (perhaps even happier).
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