The Mission (film 1)


As a non-history major “The Mission” really drew me in. I felt moved by the film and I also felt like I had learned something new, however after doing my readings for this week I feel, now, like the movie has deceived me. In Seager’s article “The Mission and Historical Missions Film and the Writing of History” he mentions that the Jesuits were not in a regular practice of martyrdom for the Guaranis in the 1700’s. However in the film everyone involved with the Guaranis outside of the tribe seemed ready to put their life on the line for the tribe. Knowing war was coming Father Gabriel and the other missionaries chose to stay and fight with the Guaranis. The writers and producers of any film have a main focus on entertainment. And in order to entertain their audience they will have to change things and add in a plot. Some things being big deals like the one I just mentioned and other smaller things like location. Seager also mentions in his article that the location was not accurate, but it was “harmless” to depict it like they did. Seagar also mentions that many Guarani tribes would not accept the help of the Jesuits and often move away from what they built for them. Would “The Mission” be a good film if this is what the Guarani’s had done? There would not have been much of a plot. The relationship that developed between Rodrigo and the little boy was sweet to see. I know it made my heart smile to see Rodrigo go from an Indian slave trader to being protective over the little boy. I began to root for Rodrigo in the film. I remember reading somewhere in the first week of readings about how historians have a smaller budget and smaller audience following so their works don’t have the entertainment value. I appreciate accuracy, but I guess I prefer entertainment.


I believe this film was written to capture the heart of the viewer. I know, for me, this film pulled at my heartstrings (as silly as it may sound). As a new Mom I was almost in tears seeing the children being in the middle of a war. The last scene of the people moving towards the battle was most upsetting because I could see the blank looks on children’s faces as they innocently walked towards death. The film seemed to have more of an agenda for the campaign to end slavery than for depicting historical accuracy. The writers wanted us to be drawn into the characters and relationships. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad campaign, but I guess the film had to capture the attention and hearts of viewers in order to get their message across.


Overall I enjoyed the movie because of the faith and passion Father Gabriel had in people of his own decent and a group of complete strangers. Viewing the movie only on the surface I found it entertaining.