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Martin and Hazel Quarrier are small-town fundamentalist missionaries sent to the jungles of South America to convert the Indians. Their remote mission was previously run by the Catholics, before the natives murdered them all. They are sent by the pompous Leslie Huben, who runs the missionary effort in the area but who seems more concerned about competing with his Catholic 'rivals' than in the Indians themselves. Hazel is terrified of the Indians while Martin is fascinated. Soon American pilot Lewis Moon joins the Indian tribe but is attracted by Leslie's young wife, Andy. Can the interaction of these characters and cultures, and the advancing bulldozers of civilization, avoid disaster? Written by
To study for his role as a Christian missionary, Aidan Quinn went undercover with the Wycliffe Bible Translator group in Belem, Brazil, passing himself off as a born again Christian from the American Midwest. See more »
The next time you strike an Indian for any reason whatsoever, it is you who is going to be sent away. They are different from us, they don't understand! And besides that, it could be very dangerous for us all.
Do you want Billy seeing their filthy tricks?
It will not seem filthy to him unless we make it so. Honey, it is very natural.
Natural? And if one of those nasty little savages puts a hand on him?
Then he might enjoy it.
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I fell into this movie, broadcast by Belgian 2, in the scene where the evangelists travel up the river. The cast immediately caught the attention: what are all these actors, who usually don't play adventure type characters, doing in the Amazon?! Then Berenger is shown in a kind of nudity I thought US/Hollywood culture forbade. This absence of hypocrisy combined with quality actors made me sit straight. I had already missed a lot, but there was plenty of great and convincing story telling left. People struggle, try over and over to keep on going when things go wrong. Cultures try to interact but fail in different ways. Several of the main characters die of unexpected but reasonable events. And everything is so well set, framed and timed that it keeps watchable. The scene where Bates, dressed as a native exorcist, dances on her grief over a horrible loss was beautiful. There's MAYBE one scene just a bit artificial, where Hannah has pulled up a leg to hide some of her nudity for The Camera: it contrasts with her subsequent confrontation with Moon where she doesn't show any embarrassment.
The supporting acting by natives (mostly people who had only just adapted 'civilization' and who could still remember village life) is surprisingly good. The native language that was created sounds really well, not like any language I've ever heard, and it is spoken consistently as far as I can hear. The final shot is impressive, and the accompanying music sublimely subtle. I really must see the first 30 minutes some time!
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