Black Robe

I found this movie very interesting and was very captivated despite how old the movie was and the terrible quality. The movie was hard to watch at first since it was so slow and there wasn’t much talking or hint as to what the movie was going to be about. As the movie progressed, I slowly started to understand what the movie was trying to explain and show and this is when I started to enjoy it. Although there wasn’t much action or talking, I enjoyed seeing both sides of a story that is hardly ever told as accurately as this film does. A lot of people will only talk about the side of the white intruders that came to wipe the Native Americans off their land while others will only talk about how barbaric and savage the Native Americans were and how they needed to be saved. This film, however, told things as they were as they were and tried hard not to favorite one more than the other.

  • Priests were involved in the enterprise of colonization because they were seen as the messengers of the word of God. They were sent out to spread Christianity to everyone in order to save everyone of their sins and convert them to the correct way of living.
  • The colonizers sacralize the “New World” by building churches in the places were tribes lived in an effort to save the natives of their savage lifestyles. They also built huge crosses to establish a symbol of Christianity near the tribes. This marked a sacred space in the midst of this “savage” and “barbaric” place.
  • The “New World” is profane because it isn’t the same setting and beliefs that the colonists are used to. Anything that is different to them is automatically savage and unholy and requires saving.
  • Power and knowledge differs in both religions. The French found power in God and found knowledge in being able to read and write and also in having a connected with God and his love. The Native Americans found power and knowledge in knowing how to survive and hunt. They also believe that the forest speaks to them and has power over what happens to everyone.
  • Father LaForgue and Daniel have conflicting views on the natives and their beliefs. Father LaForgue believes that the natives are savages and need to be saved by God. He thinks that the natives beliefs are ridiculous and that anyone who thinks that dreams are reality and that the forest speaks to them are a lost cause. Daniel, however, understands the natives and thinks that they are not so different after all. He explains how the natives share beliefs of an afterlife and have their own gods. He also thinks that they are just as Christian as any other because they have a sense of community and take care of one another.
  • Father LaForgue represent the “modern” man because he is seen as the civilized person that is well educated and beliefs in God. He has the ability to “save” the savages and bring them to a better way of living.
  • Father LaForgue is more about right belief because he always talks about if you only accept God into your life you will be saved. He does not seem to believe in right action much because he does not care that the natives are good people and are a community that care for each other. As Daniel said, they are as much Christians as anyone because they care for each other but Father LaForgue isn’t convinced because they don’t believe in God so they can’t be saved.
  • The natives see the French as idiots and demons that have come to steal their way of life. Throughout the movie the natives keep referring to the French as not smart and demons because they don’t fit the lifestyle and beliefs they have. The French see the natives as barbaric and animals with no sane mindset. You can see in the film that they see the natives as inferior to them and there are multiple cases where they are called savages and beasts.
  • After converting to Christianity, the natives were seen as weak by other tribes because they had to give up their lifestyle of survival and killing their enemies before they are killed by them. Christianity says to forgive instead of kill and that God will provide all that is needed and will protect you. The consequence is that the natives that converted were later killed by other tribes and they also lost their own customs and way of life.
  • It was important for Father LaForgue to convert the natives because he believed that God sent him to do His work. He believes that the natives need to be saved because it is his duty as a follower of God and he is doing an ultimate good in the world by doing so.
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