The Mission are a gothic band from England, featuring ex-members of the Sisters of Mercy. Formed in 1986. The best album is God's own Medicine. Other albums include Children and Carved in Sand.

Two very good movies with the same title...

The Mission (1986)

Directed by Roland Joffé. Starring Jeremy Irons, Robert De Niro, and Liam Neeson. Irons plays Father Gabriel, a Spanish Jesuit who goes to Brazil to build a mission in hopes that they will be able to convert the natives over to Christianity. De Niro plays Mendoza, a slave trader who seeks sanctuary with Gabriel after killing his brother in a fit of rage. They work together to successfully build the mission until Spain cedes the colony to Portugal who allow slave traders to round up natives. Mendoza organizes the natives in a resistance against Gabriel's wishes and all hell breaks loose.

It's a very beautiful movie, both in story and in the cinematography. Most people complain about how long the movie is but when it's filled with varying emotions, what could there be to complain about? Most people remember the movie poster which captures a scene in which a missionary is tied to a cross and sent over a waterfall.

The Mission (1999)

Directed by Johnny To. Starring Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Simon Yam, and Eddy Ko. The movie centers on several bodyguards who are assigned to protect a triad member from being killed after receiving threats. One of the best action movies coming out of Hong Kong, this is viewed by many as the beginning of a millenial new wave in Hong Kong film. If you're looking for fancy action, watch John Woo (not that there's anything wrong with it). If you're looking for gritty and more realistic play, see this movie.

Album: The Mission Artisit: Ennio Morricone and the London Philharmonic Orchestra Released by: Virgin Records Release Date: November 26, 1996 Type of Release: Soundtrack

Track listing:

  1. On Earth as It is in Heaven
  2. Falls
  3. Gabriel's Oboe
  4. Ave Maria Guarani
  5. Brothers
  6. Carlotta
  7. Vita Nostra
  8. Climb
  9. Remorse
  10. Penance
  11. The Mission
  12. River
  13. Gabriel's Oboe
  14. Te Deum Guarani
  15. Refusal
  16. Asuncion
  17. Alone
  18. Guarani
  19. The Sword
  20. Misere

This soundtrack is from the film, The Mission. The film came out in 1986, and won Best Picture at the Cannes Film Festival that year. It is an incredibly moving film, so if you haven't seen it I suggest you do.

But back to the score. Ennio Morrricone truly shines with this piece of music. He has worked on other films including The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which has a stimulating score, but the music from The Mission stands alone. It is by far the most emotional music that I have heard since I was first graced by Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. It's interesting because I had seen the film loads of times so I could picture the different scenes and was brought back to the emotional moments as well. But it still reached me on a deeper level, inspiring me, moving me, and temporarily filling some of the empty space inside me.

Perhaps that is because I can relate to many of the different emotions that are expressed in the film, but regardless it is beautiful music. It makes me wonder what he was thinking while composing it, and I can only imagine the vaste array of possibilities.

One of the interesting things about this album is the year that it was released. The producers waited ten years before finally making it available to the public. Interesting I suppose in that nowadays it seems like the soundtrack is out before the movie is even released in the theater.

If you like classical music in anyway whatsoever, get this album. It's a keeper.

The Mission is a movie directed by Roland Joffé in 1986, starring Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons and Ray McAnally. The action takes place during the mid 1700s and is a portrait of the late colonial era in South America. The famous soundtrack (Baroque stylish music) is by Ennio Morricone and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The movie received the Palme d'Or of Cannes' Festival in 1986.

The Story

Like many Jesuit missions (or reducciones) established in the hostile jungles of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the church of San Jose, run by Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons), is a prosperous model of harmony, protected by the crown of Spain. Peace is seldom interrupted by slave merchants, like Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro), trying to capture the Guarani natives. Because of a quarrel Mendoza ends up killing his brother during a perfectly legal duel. Feeling guilty he decides to expiate his penance by joining the Jesuit effort.

As time passes by, Mendoza gets more and more acquainted with the Guarani and the Jesuits. He is now a Jesuit himself. Unfortunately the political context in Europe is changing and the kings of Spain and Portugal decide to exchange the territories the mission is built on. However in order to be allowed to do so, the Vatican must agree. So the Pope sends Altamirano (Ray McAnally), an envoy to see by himself what the situation is like in South America.

The main problem is that Spain has rather strict policies regarding slavery whereas Portugal hasn't. Should the mission become Portuguese, the natives would end up sold as slaves.

Eventually Spain cedes the colony to Portugal which jeopardizes the mission. Mendoza, braving Father Gabriel's advice, decides to organize the resistance with the Guarani and the movie ends in a tragic blood bath.

Historical Context

During the 18th century, both Spain and Portugal own about half the South American continent. The territory where the action takes place, located between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, is very rich and hence disputed between the two countries. It belongs to Spain. The crown had been protecting it for over two centuries and enticing Jesuits to set up missions which turned out to be very prosperous.

The Jesuits are ardent champions of the Pope. Rome, since the events of Valladolid in 1550, was strongly opposed to slavery, thus, the missions were not very profitable for the Spanish and Portuguese business interests because they were protecting Indians from being sold as slaves. So the political context came to a change and in 1750 the realms of Spain and Portugal signed a treaty that transfered the ownership of the territory from the former to the latter.

The exchange has had an important impact on missions built there : Firstly the Jesuits had to leave, and secondly the natives were enslaved since Portugal had no policy prohibiting slavery. However, Spain being highly catholic, the Vatican had to approve the exchange for it to be valid.

The Jesuits in South America were thus frankly opposed to the Portuguese. Since they were already a political target in Europe, in order for them not to be expelled from Portugal, Rome decided to allow the exchange. The war between the Guarani and the Portuguese lasted three years.

Facts and Fiction

Most of the events pictured in the movie are accurate. The Guarani did indeed accept the missions quite well : they worked in them, learnt the new religion and became good musicians. The mission of San Carlos did exist. And as hinted by Gabriel's refusal to resist, the Jesuits did leave the colony, leaving the Guarani to fight alone.

Altaminaro was an envoy to South America, but not a cardinal sent by the Pope. In fact he was an emissary sent by the Superior General of the Society of Jesus Ignazio Visconti. In the movie he has ambivalent feelings but historical evidence tends to show that he was not at all disturbed by the decision he had to take.

Both Gabriel and Rodrigo are of course fictional characters.

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