Free «The Conquest of Paradise and The Other Conquest» Essay

The Conquest of Paradise and The Other Conquest

1492: The Conquest of Paradise is a 1992 adventure and drama film directed and produced by Ridley Scott in association with Alain Goldman. Roselyn Bosch wrote the script for the movie. The movie was released by Gamount Film Company and distributed by Paramount Pictures (Goldman & Scott, 1992). The movie stars, among others, Gérard Depardieu, Armand Assante, Sigourney Weaver, Loren Dean, Ángela Molina, Fernando Rey, and Michael Wincott (Goldman & Scott, 1992).

The Other Conquest (original Spanish title La Otra Conquista) is a 1998 movie directed and written by Salvador Carrasco, produced by Alvaro Domingo. The movie was released in Carrasco & Domingo Films S.A. de C.V., and distributed by 20th Century Fox (Domingo & Carrasco, 1998). The movie stars, among others, Damián Delgado, José Carlos Rodríguez, Elpidia Carrillo, Iñaki Aierra, Diana Bracho, and Carlos Torres Torrija (Domingo & Carrasco, 1998).

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1492: The Conquest of Paradise is a fiction dealing merely with the exploration of the New World by Christopher Columbus. The movie describes the times when science was controlled by the Church, predetermined by Scholasticism to greater extend, and when the power of Inquisition was enormous (Goldman & Scott, 1992). At the very beginning of the movie, the Church is represented as the cultural, scientific, and educational nucleus of society. However, the clerical elite express intolerance towards any act of unconventional, progressive thinking (Goldman & Scott, 1992).

The eyes of the European nobilities by the end of the fifteenth century were fixed on Asia, which was rich in gold and spices. Thus, Christopher Columbus assembles a ship crew and departs to find a new sea rout to Asia. He claims that if to move westwards it is possible to reach its shores in a seven week voyage (Goldman & Scott, 1992). Making their acquaintance with the indigenous people, an expedition is sent back to the residence of Queen Isabella I with the gifts from the New World. The aborigines act aggressively when they see the members of Columbus’ expedition, which causes the first conflict between the indigenous people and the Columbus’ crew. When all the parties are pacified, Columbus and the crew begin constructing the town of San Salvador. Soon afterwards the pursuit of gold begins and another conflict breaks out (Goldman & Scott, 1992).

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Thus, there are a few perspectives of Ridley Scott’s understanding of the issue of exploration and colonization of America. They are exploration, discovery, voyage, and science. Columbus’ act of non-compliance and his aspiration for discovery represents the motive of exploration as well as colonization of America and their impact on Columbus’ destiny. A certain type of relation that arose between the settlers (Christopher Columbus and his crew) and the aborigines (indigenous people) represents the way exploration and colonization influenced the image of the continent and its people.

The Other Conquest (Sp. La Otra Conquista), on the other hand, is a movie dealing predominantly with the ethical and philosophical aspects of the exploration and colonization of the Central America and their outcomes (Domingo & Carrasco, 1998). The creators of the movie reflect upon the issue of the Spanish conquest of Aztec people, which occurred by the end of the second half of the sixteenth century. The movie opens with a scene of carnage and Topiltzin’s leitmotiv. Topiltzin is an Aztec scribe and the one who survives the massacre (Domingo & Carrasco, 1998). The theme of conquest, in its turn, is merely represented by Captain Cristóbal and Friar Diego, as well as Hernando Cortés’ leitmotiv, for the first Spanish Conquest of America is connected with him and the events of the conquest preceded the ‘other conquest’ described in the movie (Domingo & Carrasco, 1998). The motive of the impact of exploration and colonization of America is interpreted by many of Topiltzin’s invasively imposed attempts of conversion and integration into the Spanish Catholic community. Tecuichpo, Topiltzin’s half-sister, and Topiltzin himself are taken to the Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Light. The statue of Saint Mary is a symbol of the monastery and a symbol of Toplitzin’s obsession (Domingo & Carrasco, 1998). Doomed to be haunted by his past and obsessed by the new idols, Topiltzin has to make his final choice – between reason and madness, passion and loyalty, freewill and implicit obedience.

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Considering the issue of religion, it is important to admit the following. Split into the two notions, the notion of religion as institution and as belief, faith as the quintessence of human understanding of supernatural forces is attributed to the eternal struggle between the very essence of reason and thought, and manipulating the consciousness. The creators of both 1492: The Conquest of Paradise and La Otra Conquista (Eng. The Other Conquest) refer to exploration and colonization of North America as the event that catalyzed the process of schism within the Church as the political institution. The creators of both movies neither exaggerate the meaning of the events, nor diminish it. In this regard, cultural and ethnical identity, customs, traditions, religious beliefs are claimed to be an integral part of human nature and to a greater extend predetermine the person’s self. Exploration and colonization of America are regarded as the events that changed the world order and, therefore, influenced the human nature.

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