Black Robe

I found the film Black Robe (1991) to be a (mostly) unbiased way of portraying the relationship between French Jesuits and indigenous folks. While most movies depict either the colonizers or the indigenous folks as being brutal and violent, most of the film focuses on the conflict of lack/inability to communicate and understand each other between the French and the indigenous peoples. The scene where Laforgue shows the Algonkians how Daniel was able to say aloud what Chomina has said to only Laforgue through writing is an example of this conflict. The Algonkians immediately became distrustful and wary despite the lack of danger from Laforgue and Daniel. To the Algonkians, they had practiced witchcraft, as they did not understand written language, an aspect that was not apart of their own culture. Throughout the film, Laforgue showed unwavering commitment to his religion and belief that his mission was to convert the indigenous peoples to Judaism. For Laforgue, his strong belief system limited his ability to understand the culture and belief system of the Algonkians and other tribes. Daniel seemed to serve as the bridge between the two, presenting a speculative mind towards Judaism and an open mind towards Algonkian culture. Though the film, for the most part, seemed to be unbiased in depicting the French colonization of Indian folks, the violent encounter with the Ir0quois seemed to tip the tables as presenting the Iroquois to be brutal and savage in contrast to the other native people.


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