In the 17th century a Jesuit priest and a young companion are escorted through the wilderness of Quebec by Algonquin Indians to find a distant mission in the dead of winter. The Jesuit ... See full summary »
The story of Captain Richard Francis Burton's and Lt. John Hanning Speke's expedition to find the source of the Nile river in the name of Queen Victoria's British Empire. The film tells the... See full summary »
Richard E. Grant
In the 17th century a Jesuit priest and a young companion are escorted through the wilderness of Quebec by Algonquin Indians to find a distant mission in the dead of winter. The Jesuit experiences a spiritual journey while his young companion falls in love with the Algonquin chief's beautiful daughter underneath the imposing and magnificent mountains. Dread and death follows them upriver. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It took over four years to find financing for the film. No American studio was interested in doing it because it was about religion, so eventually the finance was drummed up from European and Canadian sources. Even with Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford expressing a desire to be at the helm, the Canadian investors were still very hard to convince. Until Beresford's film Driving Miss Daisy (1989) scooped the 1989 Oscar for Best Film. The success of "Dances with Wolves" was also instrumental in helping the film to get made. See more »
Chomina, left behind to die, says to the priest: an Algonquin word translated as "go", then "Black Robe", and the first word again. The subtitles, added here as to any Algonquin dialogue, substitute "my friend" for "Black Robe". This considerable shift in meaning, added in translation, is not compatible with the character. See more »
When I die, Chomina, I will go to paradise. Let me baptise you so I may take you with me.
Why would I go to your paradise? Are my people there? My woman? My boy? There's only blackrobes.
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One of the Finest Portrayals of American Indians in the Movies
This film is brilliant, because it defies conventional stereotypes of European settlers and American Indians. This movie strives and succeeds in its portrayal of Indians and whites as human beings, rather than as villains or saints. Those who feel this movie would show the Indians as noble savages will be gravelly disappointed. The Indians in "Black Robe" can be cruel, and have sexual mores that would disgust the more prudish viewers. The affect of the Jesuit missionaries among the Indians of Quebec is not romanticized or glossed over, nor are the Jesuits shown as evil white devils. All humans in this movie have their flaws and weaknesses and all act "morally" according to their own cultures' expectations. Beresford has crafted a marvelous film that ought to be required viewing in college history courses across the country.
The cinematography is beautiful, whether we are watching the gilded altars of the cathedrals of Renaissance France, the iridescent glow of a fire at an Indian village, the cramped quarters of an Indian longhouse, or the awesome and heavenly magnificence of the Canadian woodlands and what appears to be the St. Lawrance River. This movie does feature explicit sexual acts and gruesome violence, so I would not recommend this movie at all for very young children. I think most teenagers can handle this film. I suppose this film is very hard to find at your local video rental store, but do yourselves a favor and find it. Your efforts will be amply rewarded.
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