Kiki & Lala

The Mission

Posted on: November 21, 2010

A friend lent me the DVD of The Mission.  I remember seeing it years ago but I don’t remember being as moved as I was watching it this time around.

If you remember, the movie is about these Jesuits evangelizing indigenous people living above a waterfall in the rain forests of South America. These Jesuits chose to be teach not by the sword but by immersing in and embracing the rich, raw and untouched culture of these indians.  This strategy resulted in a productive and bustling system of missions built for and with the locals. Doesn’t this sound so much like Gawad Kalinga?

Jeremy Irons stars as Gabriel, the fearless Jesuit priest who believed that nothing but love could conquer hatred and violence.

Robert de Niro stars as Mendoza, a mercenary who became a Jesuit.

He taught the indians how to fight for their territory against the Portugese.  He ended up fighting alongside the people he trained to save the land that rightfully belonged to the locals.

Everything about this film was excellent – the actors, the music, the beautiful scenery.  It’s as relevant as it was centuries ago as it was in 1986, when the movie was made, as it is today.  It’s interesting to observe that the issues that plagued their world then are the same sources of conflict we see in our world today.  The politics between church and state, the inflexibility of the Church, the taking of land from its rightful owners, the subordination of people who are thought to be less sophisticated – ALL THE SAME ISSUES.  We have not learned…

After watching this movie I remembered that I had a book resting in my shelf that might be related to this movie.  Do you remember this book?

Light Cavalry was written by the great Horacio de la Costa, S.J.  While this book only talks about how the Jesuits established the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, I thought that it touched on the same themes tackled by The Mission.  Reading this book now has been a richer experience for me.   As you are the bigger history nerd between us, you might wanna watch the movie and read the book.  I’m enjoying myself.


1 Response to "The Mission"

i was the one who told you a few weeks ago to watch the mission!!
but yes, it’s an amazing movie and left me with great appreciation for my jesuit education.
ennio morricone couldn’t have written a better score for the film.

and sadly, yes, we are facing a LOT of the same issues as they were three or four hundred years ago.

(but hey, pope benedict just declared that condom use is ok SOMETIMES… so MAYBE the church is becoming a LITTLE more flexible??)

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