Tuesday, 8 March 2011

1492 - Conquest of Paradise

1992 by Ridley Scott

Christopher Colombus thinks differently from the rest and is sure that he can find a new route to Asia. It takes lot of hard work for him to convince his queen to set out on this expedition and finally reach the West Indies and is glad to meet the new tribes and the abundant nature in the islands. He returns back to Spain and goes back to the Indies, but with more men and power. But this time he also has to manage some noble men who follows the powerful men in the Kingdom. These noble men have different ways to deal the native tribals which soon make the new paradise land a chaotic land. Columbus is replaced by another Viceroy and is jailed in Spain. By this time another Italian have already discovered the continent of Americas. Columbus still feels he has only been proved right, even if somebody else reached the continent first.

All the drama behind these expeditions has been nicely shot. So are the friction between the aboriginals and the invaders. The movie will definitely make us feel bad about all the terror which was done by Christianity in the historic days, may it be upon people who thought differently or upon the aboriginals of the invading islands or countries.

This movie, I would say has one of the best cinematography I have seen. Its not about landscapes or panoramic shots. The lighting is brilliant, subdued for a good majority of shots and the camera is brilliantly placed and absorbs the emotions and moods wonderfully. It is a pity that this movie never got its due attention. May be because of its slow pace through out. But I cannot imagine this one in any different way.

An excellent performance from Gerrard Depardieux as Columbus. So does Sigourney Weaver as the Queen of Spain, who only have few scenes, but she is all out there as the queen in those scenes.

I am still wondering why this movie is never mentioned when people discuss about the best historic movies. May be the west do not want to look at nearly realistic portrayals of how badly they have treated indigenous people.

Also it would have been better had this been taken in Spanish language. Mr. Scott wisely cast Depardieux for the role of Columbus as he wanted somebody from Europe, but had the language too been Spanish may be the movie would have been different. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes Rajesh, history is the history written by,for and of the privileged minority. I think still we need to wait for the time when voice of 3rd world will be taken at value by them. Recently I had to do a paper under a personally very gentle American. However, when i wrote some expressions like:"violent mode of colonizers evangeliztion", "destruction of third world cultures by the white", "so called world history is the European version of history and is partial" he commented on it telling that it is one-sided. Anyhow, I had to remove those expressions from the paper, at least for his sake.