Rolling Stone - 11/28/1991
"...[A] raw and jolting adventure..."
New York Times - 10/30/1991
"...BLACK ROBE has peripheral pleasures, which, because they are so seldom seen in movies, should not be underrated..."
USA Today - 11/04/1991
"...This is one magnificent movie, one whose relatively untrod locations really do convince us that we're canoe-paddling in another century..."
Director Bruce Beresford's abiding fascination with the clash of cultures is apparent in this adaptation of Brian Moore's novel of a Jesuit missionary who leaves France in 1634 to bring the word of Jesus to the Huron tribe of rugged northern Quebec. The film, which stars Lothaire Bluteau as LaForgue, casts aside the revisionist notion of the Native American as an enlightened being, superior to Caucasian interlopers, depicting the Huron world as one of ugliness and harshness. The missionary's arrogance blinds him to the Indians' preference for their own religious rituals over the faith he is attempting to thrust upon them. Yet, in his new proximity to nature and exposure to primitive mores that shock him, the priest begins to feel the bonds of his asceticism and question his faith. Finally, after being captured and tortured by a party of Iroquois, he begins to evince the compassion with which the conversion of the Hurons becomes possible. The tragic ramifications of this process are only revealed many years later. Bluteau is excellent in this bleak film, which includes some of the most meticulously researched representations of Native American life ever put on film.
A young Jesuit priest is sent on a dangerous expedition to convert the Huron Indians in the rugged 17th-century Canadian wilderness. His faith and courage tested, he is captured and tortured by the Iroquois and learns to understand the true nature of the people he came to convert.