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Films >> Otra Conquista, La (The Other Conquest) (1998) >>

Barnes, Michael. "With recent films, New World grows old." Austin American-Statesman 11 May 2007.
The film "commits the mortal sin of boring the audience. (Does it need a foot race?) In fact, it might have made a better opera, cushioned as it already is in grand public gestures, extended internal monologues and glorious sacred music (it helps to have operatic superstar Plácido Domingo as an executive producer). The movie tries awfully hard to present a balanced record, playing the friar's good intentions against those of his intended convert, whose loyalty to his native beliefs are hard to fault. But we get this proposition in the first 15 rather confusing minutes of the movie."
Garcia Tsao, Leonardo. "The Other Conquest" ("La otra conquista"). Variety 30 August 1999: 60-61.
"Against all odds, 'The Other Conquest' has turned out to be one of the most successful Mexican releases of the decade. Boffo business in opening weekend was 20% higher than that of Mel Gibson vehicle 'Payback' and bigger than any other Mexican pic in history." The film is "a far cry from the breezy entertainment preferred by the local public," but it "turns too didactic, allowing its dialogues to spell out what the title has made explicit all along. While religious syncretism sets in, the cross proves much mightier than the sword." Also, the film by "First-time helmer" Carrasco is "more ambitious than accomplished," cannot "solve dramatic problems" caused by the script, and is too "schematic": "From the start, natives are portrayed as dignified victims while every conquistador is a scowling villain." Cortes is a "sex-crazed despot," Friar Diego a "pious stereotype."
Johnson, Reed. "Another Attempt for 'Conquest.'" Los Angeles Times 15 May 2007.
On the re-release of the film "in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The San Francisco Bay Area and other parts of California are expected to follow. Its new distributors hope that, as the film builds momentum through reviews and word of mouth, it eventually will land in Chicago and New York and gain a Los Angeles encore."
Munoz, Lorenza. "'Conquest' Makes Its Way to Film -- Several Years in the Making, Mexican Feature Is Finding an Audience." Contra Costa Times 30 April 2000.
"The Spanish conquest of the Americas is usually told as a quick and easy story: They came, they conquered, they converted the Indians into Christians. Indeed, 'history is written for the victors and what they leave out are the losers,' as academic historian Arthur Drexler noted. But Mexican director Salvador Carrasco wanted to tell the losers' story. . . . 'We were not going to make a film about the goodies and the baddies,' Carrasco said. 'You end up having a racist approach by doing that. We were never interested in the idea that the Indians were so innocent and pure, and showing them in a mystical trance playing the flute. I think that is disrespectful. These were complex cultures with inner contradictions.'"
Munro, Donald. "Clash of cultures -- Mexican movie took a long time to widely reach the U.S." Fresno Bee 6 May 2007.
This film "is the optimistic human story of resilience: how subjugated people are able to retain parts of themselves even under occupation and assimilation."
Munro, Donald. "Conquerors and conquered change each other." Fresno Bee 4 May 2007.
"Director Salvador Carrasco is intrigued with the fascinating collision of cultures. Throughout history, recorded and before, conquerors have been influenced and changed by the conquered. Flirting with concepts that some religious purists might decry as New Age puffery, Carrasco asks probing questions: Why do people kill each other because their gods have different names? What if Topiltzin, still devoted to the mother goddess of the Aztec faith but mesmerized by the beatific gaze of the Virgin Mary icon that dominates the monastery, is right to conflate the two? Though the answers sometimes seem too easy, occasionally even trite, they're still fascinating to work through. Comparisons are inevitable to Mel Gibson's bloody 'Apocalypto,' which focused on the declining Mayan empire. In fact, the interest in Gibson's film probably contributed to the decision to release the film in the U.S. But 'The Other Conquest,' while occasionally violent, is a much more subdued spiritual and emotional journey."
Nilsen, Richard. "The Other Conquest." Arizona Republic 1 June 2007.
"You can use all the fancy editing and special effects you want, but what makes a great movie is having something to say. And The Other Conquest is fairly bursting with something to say. This low-budget -- almost no-budget -- Mexican film is being marketed as a film about ethnic pride, but the film is much better than that, much richer and much more equivocal. . . . this movie makes its case that the real "other conquest" was the intellectual backwash of the New World on Old World culture. When two cultures clash, neither wins, but both are altered."
Sheehan, Henry. "`Other Conquest' looms smaller than life -- REVIEW: The period piece about the Spanish conquest of Mexico needs a larger perspective." Orange County Register 19 April 2000.
"Would that Carrasco was up to all this material. Unfortunately, the young filmmaker is severely hampered by some obvious budget restrictions and lapses in technique. His fondness for shallow lenses collapses his already small sets into tight, constricted dramatic space. A historical film need not be grand, but it needs a larger perspective than Carrasco's camera provides."
Stone, Sasha. "A Spanish Masterpiece." Santa Monica Mirror 26 April 2000.
"La Otra Conquista gives a face and a name to the mysterious world of the Aztecs. Though we now know that the beauty and spirit endure, we must remember, just how high a price the Aztecs paid, and in some ways, how the Mexican people are still paying for their loss."
Thomas, Kevin. "Movie Review; 'Conquest' Reveals Clash, Fusion of Spirit." Los Angeles Times 19 April 2000.
"In his bravura feature debut, [Salvador] Carrasco has created nothing less than a dazzling vision of the birth of a uniquely Mexican religion born of the searing fusion of Catholic and Aztec deities. This epic film is an impassioned assertion that the proud Aztec spirit lives on in Mexico's culture despite the horrific efforts of the conquistadors and their priests to eradicate every vestige of the Aztec heritage of the vanquished natives."
Villarreal, Phil. "'The Other Conquest' is more an utter loss." Arizona Daily Star 17 May 2007.
"Topiltzin is in an interesting situation because he can't trust his own gods, who abandoned him and his people, nor can he worship a new god whose worshippers advocate senseless genocide. This is fertile ground for some soul-searching, but the film devolves into an escape/ chase flick in which redemption for the heroes comes in twisting his tunic into a loincloth, bashing through a window protected by an iron cross and kidnapping a Virgin Mary statue. There is symbolism, and then there is cinematic bludgeoning. Carrasco delivers his message with all the grace of Cortés."

See Also

Bain, Don. "The Other Conquest examines the consequences of empire." La Voz Nueva [Denver] 17 October 2007: 8-11.

Carrasco, Luis F. "Strong 'Conquest' takes viewer inside history." El Paso Times 3 May 2007.

Garcia, Guy. "A Story of Tolerance Across the Ages; Movies: Director Salvador Carrasco strives to tell of Mexico's past through a universal prism in his 'The Other Conquest' at the AFI fest." Los Angeles Times 23 October 1998.

Gonzales, Patricia, and Roberto Rodriguez. ""'The Other Conquest' Continues: Which America do we live in?" Column of the Americas 19 May 2000.

Martinez, Jose. "'The Other Conquest': Filmmaker Salvador Carrasco Presents a Bold New Look at the Spanish Conquest." Venice Magazine 12.6 (April 2000): 34-36.

Michaelson, Judith. "Conquista Conquering." Los Angeles Times 25 March 2000.

Munoz, Lorenza. "History (and Some Marketing) Conquer Box-Office Adversity; Movies * High audience turnout for the Mexican epic 'The Other Conquest' follows a careful marketing strategy with a crossover appeal." Los Angeles Times 29 April 2000.

Munoz, Lorenza. "Preparing a 'Conquest'." Los Angeles Times 19 April 2000.

O'Hara, Lilia. "Mayas and Aztecs: Apocalypto vs. The Other Conquest." San Diego Union Tribune 18 May 2007.

Ratliff, Larry. "Filmmaker says 'Other Conquest' is about faith." San Antonio Express-News 6 May 2007.

Ribeiro, Luisa F. "The Other Conquest." Box Office 136 Jun (2000): 65.