When watching this great film about the power of God and the greed of humans, it is hard to imagine how they were able to create such a masterpiece. This sweeping, cinematically beautiful historical drama, is set in the 1750 Brazilian rainforest. The Jesuits have created protective mission environments for the natives and 90% of the profit for the work the natives do at the missions is returned to the natives with only 10% going to the church. Powerful businessmen resent this and want the missions destroyed so that they can enslave the natives and make a great profit for themselves.
(For modern day comparable scenarios, one need only look at the ravages of Capitalism and Communism and the spiritually inspired Mondragon/Mission system. See link to Mondragon on my telecourse syllabus.)
The screenplay was written by Bolt (of A Man for All Seasons fame). Magnificent musical score. The film runs 125 minutes. It stars Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons with Aidan Quinn and Liam Neeson among others. It also has a role played by the Rev. Daniel Berrigan. Directed by Roland Joffe. Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival, Golden Globe for the Best Screenplay. It was also nominated for the Best Director and Best Picture but lost out to Oliver Stone and Platoon which won both Awards.
Song to the Men of England by Shelley (1792-1822)
The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps;
The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge, another bears.
Sow seed,---but let no tyrant reap;
Find wealth,---let no impostor heap;
Weave robes,---let not the idle wear;
Forge arms,---in your defense to bear.
I, you, he, she, we.
In the garden of mystic lovers,
These are not true distinctions.