The film viewed in class is quite appropriate for a course in Canadian studies. The 17th century-based film provides a window into the past where we are able to see the history of Canadian geography and the environment. The film tells the story of the first contacts between the Jesuit missionaries from France and the Huron Indians of Quebec. The missionaries came to convert the Huron people to Catholicism but in the end their task proved to be a danger as they ended up face to face with their enemies, the Iroquois. The film offers a look at the common humanity and brutality between the two cultures as well as symbolism to depict that relationship, and the line between reality and superstition.
The geography in the film is significant in relation to the environment. Magnificent in size, unclaimed and unsettled land is all around the group as the y travel. As beautiful as the land is, it is also conveyed as primitive and savage. The hills are large, foreboding and full of threat to the newcomers. At times the hills seemed threatening, as if it were safer to be in the canoe rather then walking about the hills, with no lakes or rivers to lead you in the right direction. The environment in the film is not romanticized as it is in many other films. There does not seem to be much sunlight or clear skies overhead. The dark environment makes it seem much more fierce. The environment and physical geography reflects the image of the Huron as primitive, dark, and savage people. .
The Huron refer to the Jesuit priest as "Black Robe". This term may stand for many different things. The colour black often symbolizes darkness and evil. By referring to the priest as Black Robe, it is also as if he is being called dark and evil. The long robe that covers the priest from shoulders to toes as well as the large brimmed black hat suggests that he is covering or hiding something important. .