1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE  (1992)

Key Passages

-- approximate times given are marked from the beginning of the film not the video tape --

0:02:10  Text on Columbus
500 years ago, Spain was a nation gripped by fear and superstitions ruled by the crown and a ruthless inquisition that persecuted men for daring to dream.
One man challenged this power.
Driven by his sense of destiny, he crossed the sea of darkness in search of honor, gold, and the greater glory of god.

0:02:45  Columbus and Fernando Sitting Together
Fernando, quoting his father: Nothing that results from human progress is achieved with unanimous consent.  And those who are enlightened before the others are condemned to pursue that light in spite of others.

0:06:25  Columbus Speaks to Marchena
Columbus:  Marco Polo said he found an earthly paradise off the coast of China.  Do you believe this?
Marchena:  I believe in paradise and hell.  And I do believe that both can be earthly.

0:08:24  Columbus Speaks to Marchena
Columbus:  We've been told lies for so long.  They said that this [touching the globe] was flat as this table.  That monsters guard the edge of the world.  I will not be told what to be afraid of or what not to be afraid of.  I want to find out for myself.
Marchena:  I just hope your passion will be contagious, my son.

0:13:13  University of Salamanca
Arojaz: Unfortunately, Senor Columbus, that is precisely where our opinions differ.  You are familiar with the work of Aristotle, Aristophanes, Ptolomeus?
Columbus: I am, your eminence.
Arojaz: Then you cannot ignore according to their calculations the circumference of the earth is approximately twenty two thousand leagues or more, which makes the ocean uncrossable, but you may have found some new evidence proving these great men of knowledge are totally mistaken?
(General Laughter)
Columbus:  Your excellencies are aware of the statements of Marinus?
An Excellency: We are.
Columbus: Then you are also aware that his theories contradict Ptolomeus.  That he believes the ocean to be only seven hundred and fifty leagues.  The Florentine, Toscanelli, and the French Cardinal, Pierre d'Ailly, both think that Marinus is accurate in his calculations.  And therefore that the ocean can be crossed.

0:15:07  More Discussion at Salamanca
Arojaz: Is that all that interests you: gold?
Columbus:  No.  I would bring these people to the word of God and make them subject of Castile and Aragon.  Instead of a realm, Spain will become an empire.
Arojaz:  If God intended an opposite route to Asia, do you believe that He would have waited for you to show it to the world?
Columbus: He chose a carpenter's son to reveal himself to the world.
Arojaz:  So you consider yourself the chosen one?
Columbus:  [No answer]

0:16:10  Sanchez Speaks to Arojaz
Sanchez:  The state has its reasons to be interested in this man's proposition, your eminence.
Arojaz:  With all due respect, the judgment is ours.
Sanchez:  We're not sure.  Now what if he were right?
Arojaz:  I've always found such independent minds dangerous.  If the man had wings, no doubt he would return from the skies and tell us the heavens are empty.

0:16:47  Sanchez Speaks More With Arojaz
Arojaz:  This man is a mercenary.
Sanchez:  States have often used mercenaries.  It is to the benefit.  The stability of Spain.  It should be as much of your concern as it is mine.
Arojaz:  Am I to understand that you would use your influence to assist this heretic?
Sanchez:  Well, you know, your eminence, the fascinating thing about power is that what could be given so effortlessly, can so easily be taken away.

0:18:08  Marchena Reads The University's Rejection Letter to Columbus
Marchena:  If God intends you to go . . . .
Columbus:  Damn God.
Marchena:  Christopher!
Columbus:  Damn all of you.  You all sit at your desks, concocting theories based on what?
Marchena:  My son . . . .
Columbus:  You never leave the protection of your gardens.  Go out.  Find out what the world is about and then tell me something I can accept.

0:23:19  Fall of Granada
Santagnel:  Moors built Granada centuries ago, but now we've taken it back.  But it's a tragic victory for us.  We're losing a great culture.  Well, I suppose there is a price to be paid for every victory.  Isn't there, Senor Columbus?

0:27:40  Sanchez Speaks with the Queen About Columbus's Voyage
Queen:  The cost would be ruinous.
Sanchez:  No more than the cost of two state banquets.  Two banquets for new lands and spices.
Queen:  What are you saying, Sanchez?
Sanchez:  Only that if he is right, we have everything to gain.  And if he's wrong, we have so little to lose.

0:32:49  Columbus's Confession
Columbus:  Father, I have betrayed my family, have betrayed my men, and I've betrayed you.  I lied.  The journey will be longer than I said.
Marchena:  How long?
Columbus:  I'm not sure.  How could anyone know?  It could be twice the distance.
Marchena:  You must tell them.  You must tell the men.
Columbus:  If I tell them, they won't follow me.  You know I'm right, Father.  You must trust me.
Marchena:  You must speak to them.  And if you don't, I will.
Columbus:  You are bound by an oath, Father.
Marchena:  May God forgive you.  I believed in you.
Columbus:  Give me absolution.  Give me absolution, Father.

1:02:16  Columbus Writes in his Diary
Columbus:  I think we have returned to Eden.  Surely this is how the world once was in the beginning of time.  If the natives are to be converted to our ways, then it will be by persuasion and not by force.  I believe that no man will ever see this land as we do, for the first time.  We come in peace and with honor.  They are not savages, and neither will we be.  Treat them as you would your own wives and children.  Respect their beliefs.  Pillage will be punished by the whip.  Rape, by the sword.

1:09:20  Columbus Speaks to the Tainos' Leader
Columbus:  Tell him we'll come back, many of us.
Utapan:  He says, "How many?"
Columbus:  As many as the leaves on that tree.  And many more will follow.
Utapan:  Why?
Columbus:  To bring the word of God.
Utapan:  He says, "He has the word."
Columbus:  And, also, to bring medicine.
Utapan:  He says, "He ha . . . ."
Columbus:  "He has medicine."  Tell him we admire his people.
Utapan:  He knows you like his women and gold.

1:13:59  Columbus's Return to Spain
Columbus:  After seven months I haven't seen any sign of a civilization that compares with Marco Polo's descriptions.  No cities.  No bridges.  No temples roofed with gold.  The mainland still escapes me, but I know it is there.  My ships are not filled with the spices and gold that I was hoping for.  But this land intoxicates my sense and my soul.  And all I can think of is to return to this untamed land, this unexplored Eden.  This is a chance for a new beginning.

1:13:59  Spain Celebrates Columbus's Return
Arojaz:  It won't be easy to get rid of your prophet now.
Sanchez:  On the contrary, seems to me that the man is preparing his own cross.

1:26:22  The Massacre at Navidad
Moxica:  Is this your New World, Admirante?  These animals wish to learn savagery; we will teach them.
Man:  Three heads for every life taken.  No mercy before God.
Columbus:  No, Moxica, no.  There will be no revenge.
Moxica:  These were our cousins, our friends, our countrymen, but you say, "No revenge."  We will wash this in blood and now.
Columbus:  If you want to keep your head on your shoulders, you'll do as I say.  I lost friends, too.  Thirty-nine brave men who trusted me.  You want a war?  Fine.  We're a thousand.  They outnumber us by ten.  Who will you kill?  Which tribe?
Moxica:  We don't need to know.
Columbus:  Moxica, try to remember who you are talking to.  We came here to stay, not to start a crusade.  So, we will swallow our anger, and in the name of those who died we will accomplish what we came for.

1:39:43  Debauchery
Moxica:  You want her?  Then you can have her.
Friend:  To the New World, my friend.
Moxica:  To the governor of the mosquitoes.

Tape Two

0:02:27  Moxica's Trial
Moxica:  Savagery is what monkeys understand.  You should have done the same a long time ago, Don Cristobal.  Your ways, they don't work.
Columbus:  You will be held in detention, deprived of your privileges until you are sent back to Spain where you will be judged.  Have you anything to say?
Moxica:  For four years now, we are here.  We stay here.  Four years because we believed your promises, but we find neither gold nor your earthly paradise.  You and your brothers, you have faith, Senior Colombo.

0:16:32  Moxica's Suicide
Moxica:  You know what will be said about this in Spain, don't you?  You are nothing.  Your bastards will never inherit your titles.  Noooo.  We, we are everything.  We are immortal.

0:19:32  Brother Buyl Leaves
Buyl:  Don Christopher, I wish to return to Spain.  I have no desire to remain in this godless place.
Columbus:  They are criminals.  They have a debt toward the people of Spain.  Moxica paid.  They will have to pay, too.
Buyl:  I do not understand you, Don Christopher.  You treat Christians equally with heathen savages, and what do you offer in return?
Columbus:  A New World, Buyl.
Buyl:  No one wants one.  Only you.
Columbus:  Not only me.  Look at these people.  They could go back to Spain to see their families.  But they stay.  They want something new: a New World.
Buyl:  I will be leaving on the next ship.
Columbus:  You may leave if you please.  But your departure will not help me to make this place more godly.

0:21:14  Columbus Speaks with his Brothers
Bartolome:  No one ever expected this to be easy, Christopher.
Columbus:  This is not how I imagined it to be.  Marchena was right, Bartolome, "Paradise and hell both can be earthly."

0:23:30  Hurricane
Columbus:  Utapan.  Speak to me
Utapan:  You never learned how to speak my language.

0:27:21  Sanchez Speaks to the Queen
Sanchez:  Columbus forced nobility to hard labor.  He treated them equally with Indians.  He reduced them into his slaves.  When the noblemen aided in the Moxica protested against this treatment, he was executed.  Is this not true, also, Brother Buyl?
Buyl:  Yes, your excellency.  It is all true.  All of it.  I saw it with my own eyes.
Sanchez:  Well, he promised a paradise.  He failed.  He must be replaced.  Immediately.

0:29:29  Bobadilla Replaces Columbus
Bobadilla:  I am the new Vice-Roy of the Indies.
Columbus:  Congratulations.  Then I am free to search for the mainland?
Bobadilla:  The mainland was discovered weeks ago by another Italian . . . .
Assistant:  Yes, Amerigo Vespucci, your excellency.
Columbus:  How far?
Bobadilla:  I am not a seaman, but I heard it's no more than a week at sea.  I hope you're not too disappointed.
Columbus:  How could I be?  The mainland has been found exactly as I said it would.
Bobadilla:  I am afraid this is not the worst news.

0:32:44  Columbus Speaks with the Queen
Queen:  I have looked for a reason why I should allow you to go back, and although I tried, I could not find one.  Help me find one.
Columbus:  All my life I have dreamed of reaching the continent.  I thought my dreams grandiose.  But reality was beyond my expectations.  Far beyond.  And now I want to explore that land before I die

0:36:41  Sanchez and Columbus Speak
Sanchez:  You're a dreamer.
Columbus:  Look out there.  What do you see?
Sanchez:  I see towers.  I see palaces.  I see steeples.  I see civilization.  And I see spires that reach to the sky.
Columbus:  All of them created by people like me.  No matter how long you live, Sanchez, there is something that will never change between us.  I did it.  You didn't.

0:39:52  Arojaz Honors Vespucci
Arojaz:  By the grace of God and your beneficence, majesty, a new continent has now been found and claimed in the name of the Spanish crown in the year of 1492.  As your majesty is well aware, the University of Salamanca has always defended the theory of the existence of unknown territories to the west.  The shortest route to the New Continent has now been firmly established: west by south west for seven hundred and fifty leagues to Santa Domingo.  From there west north west leaving San Juan to the north reaching the island of Hispanola on the northern cape of San Rafael.  Then onto the mainland at the Cape of Gracias A Dios.  Spain, by your majesties' grace, has now confirmed for all humanity the existence of a New World: tierra incognita.  This continent was first discovered by a mariner commissioned by your majesty.  His name: Amerigo Vespucci.

0:42:17  Sanchez Speaks with Arojaz
Arojaz:  What a waste of a life.
Sanchez:  A waste?  Well, if your name and mine is ever remembered, Arojaz, it will only be because of his.

0:43:33  Columbus Sits with Fernando
Fernando:  I want you to tell me everything you remember, Father.
Columbus:  Oh, I wouldn't know where to start, Fernando.
Fernando:  Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind.
Columbus:  (Pause)  I remember . . . .

0:44:30 Final Text
In 1502, Columbus sailed with Fernando on his last voyage to the New World.  They landed in Panama where the Indians revealed to them the existence of a new sea-- the Pacific Ocean.
The biography that Fernando wrote about his father restored the name of Columbus to its place in history.
In 1992, his descendant Christopher Columbus is an Admiral in the Royal Spanish Navy.
"Life has more imagination than we carry in our dreams . . . ."
 
 

Copyright (c) 2000 by Christopher Robe’, Graduate Student at Lehigh University.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.  Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other
terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.