083 – Ravenous (1999)

spacetime coordinates: 1840s in the Sierra Nevadas // the Mexican-American War 

Ravenous is a 1999 Czech-American black comedy horror-suspense film directed by Antonia Bird and starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeffrey Jones and David Arquette. The film revolves around cannibalism in 1840s California and some elements bear similarities to the story of the Donner Party and that of Alferd Packer. Screenwriter Ted Griffin lists Packer’s story, as recounted in a couple of paragraphs of Dashiell Hammett‘s The Thin Man, as one of his inspirations for Carlyle’s character.

The film’s darkly humorous and ironic take on its gruesome subject matter have led some to label it simply as a black comedy or a satire. The film’s unique score by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn generated a significant amount of attention.

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the wendigo (Algonquian folklore)

imdb

066 – The Mission (1986)

spacetime coordinates:  18th century South America

the_mission_poster

The Mission is based on events surrounding the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, in which Spain ceded part of Jesuit Paraguay to Portugal. A significant subtext is the impending Suppression of the Jesuits, of which Father Gabriel is warned by the film’s narrator, Cardinal Altamirano, who was once himself a Jesuit. Altamirano, speaking in hindsight in 1758, corresponds to the actual Andalusian Jesuit Father Luis Altamirano, who was sent by Jesuit Superior General Ignacio Visconti to Paraguay in 1752 to transfer territory from Spain to Portugal. He oversaw the transfer of seven missions south and east of the Río Uruguay, that had been settled by Guaranis and Jesuits in the 17th century. As compensation, Spain promised each mission 4,000 pesos, or fewer than 1 peso for each of the circa 30,000 Guaranis of the seven missions, while the cultivated lands, livestock, and buildings were estimated to be worth 7–16 million pesos. The film’s climax is the Guarani War of 1754–1756, during which historical Guaranís defended their homes against Spanish-Portuguese forces implementing the Treaty of Madrid. For the film, a re-creation was made of one of the seven missions, São Miguel das Missões.

Father Gabriel’s character is loosely based on the life of Paraguayan saint and Jesuit Roque González de Santa Cruz. The story is taken from the book The Lost Cities of Paraguay by Father C. J. McNaspy, S.J., who was also a consultant on the film.

The waterfall setting of the film suggests the combination of these events with the story of older missions, founded between 1610–1630 on the Paranapanema River above the Guaíra Falls, from which Paulista slave raids forced Guaranís and Jesuits to flee in 1631. The battle at the end of the film evokes the eight-day Battle of Mbororé in 1641, a battle fought on land as well as in boats on rivers, in which the Jesuit-organized, firearm-equipped Guaraní forces stopped the Paulista raiders.

Historical inaccuracies

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wiki

007 – Cabeza de Vaca 1991

film about the adventures of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (c. 1490 – c. 1557), an early Spanish explorer, as he traversed what later became the American Southeast. He was one of four survivors of the Narvaez expedition and shipwreck. He became known as a shaman among the Native American tribes he encountered, which helped him survive. His journey of a number of years began in 1528. After his return to Spain, he published his journal in 1542. The screenplay by Guillermo Sheridan and Nicolás Echevarría is based on this journal.

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imdb

006 – El abrazo de la serpiente 2015

spacetime coordinate:   1909 / 1940 the amazon rainforest

embrace of the serpent

Embrace of the Serpent  is a 2015 internationally co-produced adventure drama film directed by Ciro Guerra and shot in black-and-white.

The film tells two stories thirty years apart, both featuring Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his tribe. He travels with two scientists, firstly with German Theo von Martius in 1909 and American named Evan in 1940, to look for the rare yakruna, a (fictional) sacred plant.

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