Blackrobe Movie Review Essay

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‘Black Robe' Movie Critique

‘Black Robe' is the story of a young Jesuit Priest from France who embarks on a religious journey to convert, to Christianity, the Aboriginal tribes of New France. Set primarily in Ontario during the mid 1630's, Father Lafargue travels from Quebec via the Ottawa River to the home of the Huron people in what is now referred to as the Simcoe Region of South Central Ontario. He is aided by a band of Algonquin-speaking people, numbering roughly 20 and a young Frenchman with aspirations of Priesthood in the motherland. Blackrobe offers an intriguing insight into the relationships between the French and the Aboriginals. That being said most of the background for the movie is taken from a massive archive of
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The two Aboriginal tribes that are featured in ‘Black Robe' are the Algonkins from Quebec and the Iroquois from what is now upstate New York. The portrayal of each tribe varies during the progression of the film however there is a general consistency of aggressiveness on the behalf of the Iroquois and a sense of blasé within the Algonkin. The Algonkin party are charged with the task of guiding the Jesuit Priest and Daniel to the Huron Mission however after what seems a short amount of time the majority of the party decides to turn back to attend to the more ‘important' matter at hand, hunting. One gets a general sense that the Algonkins are not interested in conversion to Catholicism and really want nothing to do with the French besides, of course, to trade goods with.
The Iroquois on the other hand are portrayed as aggressive whereby war parties, torture and sacrifice seem common practice. This however was not necessarily the case for the whole of the Iroquois nation as it is well documented that they were primarily interested in agriculture and only became outwardly hostile to expand their territory for such purposes.

‘Black Robe' is based on a book by Brian Moore who made every attempt to keep the subject matter as historically accurate as possible to which Bruce Beresford,