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Black Robe
Black Robe
Actors: Lothaire Bluteau, Aden Young, Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg, Tantoo Cardinal
Director: Bruce Beresford
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
R     1998     1hr 41min

A young Jesuit priest travels to the Canadian wilderness during the 17th century, to minister to the Huron Indians. Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure Rating: R Release Date: 9-JAN-2007 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actors: Lothaire Bluteau, Aden Young, Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg, Tantoo Cardinal
Director: Bruce Beresford
Creators: Brian Moore, Denis Héroux, Eric Norlen, Jake Eberts, Robert Lantos, Stéphane Reichel
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Religion
Studio: MGM
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/08/1998
Original Release Date: 10/04/1991
Theatrical Release Date: 10/04/1991
Release Year: 1998
Run Time: 1hr 41min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Pat B. from AMBLER, PA
Reviewed on 1/1/2013...
Thoughtful, interesting, beautiful. Good character development and enough drama to move things along in an engaging way. A few scenes will probably keep me from using it with high school students which is frustrating, but that's the nature of modern film.

Movie Reviews

A balanced view of a complex subject.
Frank Gibbons | Seekonk, MA United States | 08/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very moving film about the clash of two radically different cultures. The young Jesuit priest, Father LaForgue, although very rigid in his belief system, sincerely wants to help the Native Americans by bringing them the Truth. But his message of paradise has no meaning for the Alogonquins, Hurons, and other tribes that he comes into contact with. They cannot understand why he has no woman. They fear him as a demon because he reads from books and makes strange signs (of the cross). He, in turn, believes they are living in darkness and must be saved. He is fearful of the vast forests where the devil reigns. There is a great deal of complexity in the character of Chomina, the Algonquin leader who fears the Black Robe but who feels honor bound to assist him. Father LaForgue is a tragic figure, so lonely and confused in the vast expanses of 'New France'. Why is he here, so far from his mother's comfortable drawing rooms? What does he hope to accomplish? The film is beautifully shot on location. A warning to the faint-hearted: there are some gruesome scenes in the film. Black Robe is a moving, balanced film with a profound spirituality."
This is the one that should have won "best picture"
Frank Gibbons | 03/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"An outstanding look at what happens when cultures collide. "Black Robe" tells the story of a 17th century French Jesuit missionary sent to the Canadian wilds to proselytize among the Huron Indians. Unfolding artfully and slowly, the film explores both the questionning of and committment to his faith encountered by the priest as he gets to know his Indian guides, their culture, and their spiritual beliefs. In the film, the priest's character is juxtaposed to his young apprentice who falls in love with the daughter of their Algonquin guide and comes to a deep understanding and appreciation of their culture. Far from romanticizing and idealizing it's Native American characters, however, "Black Robe" presents them fully as rich, varied, multi-faceted individuals capable of pettiness, wisdom, loyalty, kindness, atrocity, humor, close-mindedness, and love. Likewise, the priest retains his committment to Roman Catholicism and his confusion over Native American spiritual beliefs, while coming to a profound love and respect for the individuals and the tribes he has come to serve. It is a truly remarkable film, magnificently photographed, with rich, memorable characters. It speaks clearly about the conflicting values and world views held by these two cultures without denegrating or idealizing either one. There is violence and sexual situations -- similar to what you might expect in "Braveheart." A great film!"
Gives a feeling of 'this is how it really was'
Mark Snegg | Boone, NC USA | 09/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are remarkably few historical movies which give you the feeling of actually being in another time and place. In almost all costume dramas, however accurate the costumes and sets may be, the characters think, speak and act like people of the present day. The issues are modern issues, and the movies are colored by modern political correctness, and by romanticized and simplified views of the past.

Black Robe is a movie that makes you feel "this is how things really were." It shows both Native Americans and European settlers honestly in all their humanity and complexity. But the issues are 17th century issues, not 21st century issues. The movie is not self-concious, or preachy, or pushing a particular agenda. It's just telling a good story, and telling it very well.

This is perhaps the best and most accurate portrayal of Native Americans in any movie ever. They are shown neither as noble, politically correct, ecologically sound, wise heroes, nor as racist caricatures. They are shown as real people, and as individuals with their own personal concerns and opinions. There is no glossing over harsh living conditions, violence, brutality, torture, and superstition. But honor, loyalty, love, and closeness to nature are just as vividly present - as are doubt, deception, self-interest, and cruelty.

The French are likewise shown in a real, accurate and believable way. The narrow-mindedness of the Jesuits and their perverse desire for martyrdom are shown along with their deep sincerity and courage. Colonial attitudes and the overwhelming role of religion in 17th century culture are there, but the characters are never caricatures. Neither European nor Native American religions are denigrated, but both are shown to have their flaws as well as their values.

The role of solemn ceremony in both cultures is vividly shown in some of the opening scenes - an aspect of life which has almost disappeared in today's world. There is a feeling of vast distances, and slow, hard travel into the unknown which is likewise missing in our modern world of fast transportation and globalization. We get a sense of the smallness of human beings compared to the vast forests, mountains, and rivers of 17th century North America.

Highly recommended."