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Juan Mora Catlett
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Spain conquered the seas, found a new world and different realities than the one known in Europe. But a question needed to be answered with what they found in those new territories: do the Indians have souls? The Church, bound to protect and convert the natives and the conquerors who treated them like slaves and thought they were only merchandising, expose their arguments and reasonings at what would be known as the Vallidolid controversy. Between them, there's a cardinal hearing both parts and trying to get reasonable answers from this critical question.Written by
A remarkable reconstitution of a XVIth century key debate...
Two men are facing one another. One, a monk, thinks that South-American Indians are human beings, and wants their slaughtering to end. The other, an official philosopher, thinks - or pretends to think - they are not quite human and hence can legitimately be killed or used as slaves, in order to develop the wealth and power of the Spanish crown. In the middle, a legate of the Pope has the heavy, risky task of deciding who is right. This "Controverse" is built like a boxing fight, where words and proofs would replace fists. Gradually, the spectator is taken into this fight, forced to understand both fighters' reasons and convictions. No one is the villain : one is right (according to our modern convictions), one is wrong, but both have good reasons to have their ideas and fight for them. The moral requirements are opposed to the political ones. Philosophically, it is a good example of what Max Weber called "conviction ethic" and "responsability ethic" in his famous articles about scientist and politician. But this movie just puts into action, it makes it vivid and thrilling. In addition, the cast is just great : Jean-Pierre Marielle, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Jean Carmet in the main roles add a wonderful credibility to the story. A film much, much worth seeing !
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