The movie analyzed in this paper is The Mission. This movie contains several sociological aspects and concepts. The concepts most easily identified are the ones that will be discussed in the following pages of this paper. Those concepts are Social Inequality, Deviance, and Subcultures. Social inequality is the social differences that exist whenever one group of people has different access to the rewards a society offers. Deviance is a variation from a set of norms or shared social expectations. Finally subcultures are groups of persons who share in the main culture of a society but also have their own distinctive values, norms, and life styles. These three concepts are clearly recognizable and are the concepts most prevalent in storyline of the movie.
The Mission starts out in a very interesting and unique way. The movie starts out with the priest who is to decide the fate of the Missions in the movie. He is writing a letter to the King to explain his decision for no longer protecting the Missions. As he writes this letter he goes back through all the things that he witnessed during the trial over the Missions. From the beginning if you listen to his words it is clear that he made a decision contrary to his personal belief but according to the influences of his society. Also in the beginning of the movie the first action seen is the Guiane Indians tying a Jesuit priest to a cross and sending him down an enormous waterfall. These two opening scenes set the stage for the rest of the movie. Soon after the discovery of the dead priest Father Gabriel climbs the waterfall to make another attempt to bring the word of God to the Guiane Indians. He is successful in reaching out to the Indians through music and is accepted by them. It is at this point when Roderigo is introduced as a main character. He is a mercenary who works for a Spanish plantation owner. He captures the Indians and sells them as slaves. Roderigo has voluntarily imprisoned himself for six months after he kills his bother in a fit of rage for stealing the love of the woman he loved; this is when Father Gabriel comes to see him. It is after his discussion with Father Gabriel the Roderigo decides to try and forgive himself through penance. Roderigo ends up becoming a Jesuit himself and working with the very people he sold as slaves.
After showing the transition of Roderigo the movie then shifts back to the political debate of who will control the land of the Missions. A trial takes place with a representative from Spain and Portugal, both who want the Indians and the Jesuits off the Missions, one of the Kings priests, and the Jesuits. During this trial the Judge hears the argument of whether or not the Indians are people or animals. He also visits several Missions and experiences the great accomplishments being made by the Jesuits and is extremely impressed.
The Judge (Kings priest) still makes the decision to kick the Indians out of the Missions and that the Portuguese will take control of the land. This gives the Indians no rights and they can now be used as slaves. The Judge made the decision based on political and economic reasons rather than his own sense of what was right.
The Indians do not want to leave the Mission and fight the Portuguese in an effort to keep what has become their home. The Indians are slaughtered, along with the priests and majority of women and children who did not take up arms. The movie ends with little remorse for the Indians and the Spanish and Portuguese in control of what they wanted.
The one concept that is heavily prominent in the movie that of a subculture. There are three easily identifiable subcultures. They are the Indians, the Jesuits, and the Ruling Class in this case the Spanish and Portuguese. These three subcultures all have their own culture, and traditions. They all believe in different things and values, but share in the same main culture of the society.
The Indians became a subculture of the society when the Jesuits introduced their society to them. They were much more primitive and had different beliefs but they functioned in the same society as the Jesuits and Europeans. They made money but working on the Mission and worshiped the same God.
The Jesuits were there own subculture because they too had there own beliefs in different things than the rest of society but were obviously part of the main society. They relied on protection from the Spanish and were obviously forced to interact with the settlements frequently.
The Ruling Class was also there own subcultures because they too had different beliefs and interests. They had there own ideals that were mainly in profiting themselves. Although they seem to be the main bulk of society they were also a subculture because there were only a few in the Ruling Class the these few held the same views of what to do with the Missions.
Another concept seen in the movie is deviance. Roderigo serves as the best example of deviance. Several times throughout the movie he deviates from the set of norms his society sets for him. He is ruled by his social expectations in the beginning but as the movie progresses he seems to be less concerned with the standards placed before him and more concerned with what he feels is right.
In the beginning of the movie he is a slave trader and a very influential person in the settlements with the Spanish. Even when he kills his bother he is untouchable by the law. However it is when he kills his bother when we first see his deviance take place. First of all it is deviant to kill in almost all societies so based on that alone he is deviant, but his deviance is much deeper than just that.
He deviates from society also when he leaves his life to become a priest after he puts himself through harsh penname. The fact that he became a priest and was helping the very people he hunted and sold as slaves is in fact very deviant to the Ruling Class subculture he was once a part of.
He also shows deviant behavior as a priest. He blurts out an insult during trial to a representative of the King, and later he disobeys the order of the Judge when he fights with the Indians. When he fights with the Indians this perhaps his most deviant action. This is because when he first deviated from his lifestyle as a mercenary at least one subculture didn’t see his behavior as deviant. In fact two of the subcultures in the in movie encouraged his change. However when he fights against the Europeans and with the Indians he is showing deviant behavior towards the Europeans and the he is disobeying the wishes of his superior in the Jesuit order.
Finally The Mission is also a great example of social inequality. The Jesuits are trying to bring social quality and giving the Indians social mobility by allowing them to make money for themselves. However the ruling class takes this brief attempt for some sort of equality from them.
The social inequality is what motivated the Jesuits to build the Missions (as well as to convert the Indians). So the social inequality lead to change, and in turn was also showing much progress. Sadly this progress was destroyed by those in the ruling class. This conflict lead to an even bigger inequality in the society. However, at the end of the movie it shows a few Indians children who were not killed gathering a few things left over from the Mission, and I believe this children will lead to social change because the children have remnants of the Mission physically and through what they were taught.
I felt that this movie was very interesting and entertaining. It was also very sad. I think that the social inequality was the most prevalent thing in the movie because it was clear how the ruling class thought of the Indians. There was also a great gap between the rich and the poor.
I also like the character of Roderigo and the deviance he brought to the movie. He was almost his own subculture in a way. It never really seemed like he followed any sort of norm or shared belief. I think he just did what his heart told him to do. It is also interesting that he is a deviant in different situations depending on what point of view you are using.
I would definatly recommend this movie to anyone. It is a true story of the inequality that took place and is very sad yet important to know.