For Your Lenten Friday Night at the Movies II: The Mission

Jeremy Irons as Father Gabriel, SJ

Last week, Ben Hur was epic, but it had its saccharine sweet, melodramatic moments. Whenever Judah Ben-Hur encountered the Christ, his world stopped, and started.

This week, the world gets tangled, troubled, and we’re left wondering about how the will of God works through our fallenness in this world.

We have the story of two priests, one a missionary, the other a convert. Both clothed in black, but each cut from different cloth. After a cardinal makes a visit, things that were already tenuous come unglued.

And so we have a penitential film this week. One that requires us to put away our desire for a happy earthly ending, and embrace the mission of being missionaries in a world that is turned upside down. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, it one the Oscar for Best Cinematography. The score is by Ennio Morricone, whose stylings you may recall from Clint Eastwoods’ spaghetti westerns. Have a look at the trailer,

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The complete cast? They didn’t all make it into the trailer, but let’s just say the film has a deep bench when it comes to talent.

  • Robert De Niro as Rodrigo Mendoza
  • Jeremy Irons as Father Gabriel
  • Ray McAnally as Cardinal Altamirano
  • Aidan Quinn as Felipe Mendoza
  • Cherie Lunghi as Carlotta
  • Ronald Pickup as Hontar
  • Chuck Low as Cabeza
  • Liam Neeson as Fielding
  • Bercelio Moya as Indian Boy
  • Sigifredo Ismare as Witch Doctor
  • Asuncion Ontiveros as Indian Chief
  • Alejandrino Moya as Chief’s Lieutenant
  • Daniel Berrigan as Sebastian
  • Rolf Gray as Young Jesuit
  • Álvaro Guerrero as Jesuit

So first we’ll have a supper consisting of penne pasta smoked salmon, mixed with peas and alfredo sauce. There is garlic bread on the side, all washed down with one of these.

Employee owned… :)

And for dessert? Chocolate fudge cupcakes (so we’ll be skipping the popcorn).

This film is going to put me through the wringer.  Mercenary soldier becomes priest, only to take up arms again, while his brother priest abhors violence and is taken by it. We just have to remember the following throughout,

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”


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