BLACK ROBE (1991)

Key Passages

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

0:03:16  An Officer and a Clergyman
Champlain: 1,500 miles by canoe, in that country, at the beginning of the winter.  Death is almost certain, Father Bourque.
Fr. Bourque:  Death is not always a great evil, Monsieur Champlain.
Champlain:  God should have made me a Jesuit. You have answers for everything.

0:12:06  Frenchmen Chastised by Laforgue
Frenchman 1:  Look at him [Champlain], dressed like a savage chieftain.  We're not colonizing the Indians; they're colonizing us.
Frenchman 2: Not me they're not.  I'm not becoming one of those wild woodsmen.  In one more year, I'm going back to France.
Laforgue:  Are you? Are any of us?  If the winter doesn't kill us, the Indians might.  If they don't, it could be the English.  So keep your faith, and may death find you with God in mind.

0:25:37  Laforgue Explains Paradise to the Algonquin
Ougebmat:  Blackrobe, in your paradise, would we have tobacco?
Laforgue:  You will not need tobacco there--you will need nothing.
Neehatin:  No women?!
Laforgue:  No. You will be happy just to be with God.
Algonquin: [grumbling]
Daniel:  They don't seem too happy, Father.
Laforgue:  They should be.  I have told them the truth.

0:29:47  Blackrobe's Strange Promise
Annuka:  Is the Blackrobe a demon?  He must be.  Blackrobes never have sex with women.
Daniel:  It's a promise they make to their God.
Annuka:  Why make a promise like that?
Daniel:  Strange, isn't it?

0:38:17  Flashback to France and Mother
Laforgue:  Mother, what are you doing?
Mother:  Praying to St. Joan.  Perhaps God has chosen you as He chose her.
Laforgue:  You must not compare me to a saint, Mother.
Mother:  In New France, you will remember me in your prayers?
Laforgue:  I always do.
Mother:  God will hear your prayer.  He has chosen you to die for Him.  I will never see you again.

0:43:13  Dueling Afterlives  (see essay) (see film clip)
Laforgue:  I'm afraid of this country.  The devil rules here.  He controls the hearts and minds of these poor
people.
Daniel:  But they are true Christians.  They live for each other.  They forgive things we would never forgive.
Laforgue:  The devil makes them resist the truth of our teaching.
Daniel:  Why should they believe them?  They have an afterworld of their own.
Laforgue:  They have no concept of one.
Daniel:  Annuka has told me.  They believe that in the forests at night the dead can see.  The souls of men hunt the souls of animals.
Laforgue:  Is that what she told you?  That is childish, Daniel.
Daniel:  Is it harder to believe in than a paradise where we all sit on clouds and look at God?

0:47:06  A Misinterpretation of Signs?
Mestigoit:  Watch this . . . he's going to cast a spell.
Laforgue: [out of Algonquin earshot] Oh, God of mercy, please bless this innocent child.
Chomina:  No, he is talking to his God.
Laforgue:  [making sign of the cross] In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritu Sancti.
Ougebmat:  See that sign?  That's how they steal our spirit.

0:52:43  A Pricey Promise
Chomina:  If we had kept our promise to Champlain, there would be no problem.
Ougebmat:  Promise?  For axes, pots, and flints?  Not even one musket.
Chomina:  But we accepted their gifts!  We have come to need them.  This is our undoing--and it will be our ending.
Mestigoit:  They are not gifts.  There are no gifts given by the French that aren't paid for.

0:54:33  A Prayer Before Suffering
Laforgue:  Lord, if it be thy wish that I suffer greater privations in the days ahead, I welcome it.  Thou hast given me this cross for thy honor and for the salvation of these poor barbarians.  I thank thee.

1:07:43  Chomina and the Frenchmen among the Iroquois
Chomina:  You want to be one of us.  What do you think now?
Daniel:  The Iroquois are not men.  They are animals.
Chomina:  They are the same as us, or the Huron.  If they show pity, others say they are weak.  Tomorrow, do not cry out.
Daniel:  If we do cry out, will they stop?
Chomina:  No, they will not stop.  But if you cry out when you die, they will have your spirit.
Laforgue:  When I die, Chomina, I will go to Paradise.  Let me baptize you, and you will go there also.
Chomina:  Why would I go to your Paradise?  Are my people there?  My woman?  My boy?  There is only Blackrobes.

1:15:43  Mercy for the Savages
Laforgue:  Lord, I beg you, show your mercy to these savage people, who will never look upon your face in Paradise.

1:18:20  How to See the Future
Chomina:  Tell me, Blackrobe, what does your dream say now?
Laforgue:  I am too weary for dreams.
Chomina:  You must.  If you do not, how do you see the way ahead?
Laforgue:  Put my trust in God.  He will guide me all the way to paradise.
Chomina:  But you have not seen this paradise.  No man should welcome death.  This world is a cruel place, but it is the sunlight.  I am sorry I leave now.

1:24:08  Laforgue Parts with Daniel and Annuka
Annuka:  [urging that Blackrobe must go to the mission alone, as Chomina dreamt it] A dream is real.  It must be obeyed.
Laforgue:  We will do as she asks.  What can we say to people who think that dreams are the real world; this one is an illusion.  Perhaps they're right.
Daniel:  Farewell, Father Laforgue.
Laforgue:  No farewells.  Not in this land.  And no greetings, no names.  The forests speak.  The dead talk at night.  God bless you both.

1:28:18  Baptism as Snake Oil for the Hurons (click here for link to audio recording)
Fr. Jerome:  Our only hope is that--some believe that baptism will cure their fever.  If they ask for baptism, we must have a great public ceremony at once.
Laforgue:  Fr. Jerome, shouldn't we--I mean, mustn't they understand our faith before accepting it?
Fr. Jerome:  Understand?  But they are in danger of death, and we are offering them a place in Paradise.

1:29:48  Christianity's Threat to the Hurons
Huron Man:  The Blackrobes want us to give up the dream.  To have only one wife.  To stop killing our enemies.  If we obey them, we will no longer be Hurons.  And soon our enemies will know our weakness and wipe us from the earth.

1:32:09  Laforgue's Moment of Doubt
Laforgue:  Lord, why is Fr. Jerome with you in Heaven, while Chomina lies forever in utter darkness?  Help me.

1:34:08  The Huron Plea for Baptism
Huron Chief:  A demon cannot feel grief.  Are you a man?
Laforgue:  Yes.
Huron Chief:  You must help us Blackrobe.  Do you love us?
Laforgue:  Yes.
Huron Chief:  Then baptize us.

1:36:20  The Aftermath
Text on screen:  Fifteen years later, the Hurons, having accepted Christianity, were routed and killed by their enemies, the Iroquois.  The Jesuit mission to the Hurons was abandoned, and the Jesuits returned to Quebec.
 
 

Copyright (c) 2000 by Robert F. Kilker, Graduate Student at Lehigh University.

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