- Dialog in quotation marks in the sub-titles presumably means that the lines are spoken in the Indian language, Nahuatl, and are so marked here.
- 0:02:05 Prologue
- Opening: In 1519 the Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortes and his small army rode into the Aztec Capital of Mexico where they were welcomed by the Emperor Moctezuma. Within two years the Aztec civilization was an orphan state and the survivors were trying to adapt to a new world without families, homes, temples . . . or gods.
- 0:04:08 Orphaned
- Topiltzin (on seeing the devastation at Templo Mayor): "Mother!"
- 0:04:34 Death wish
- Priest (talking about Friar Diego): I think he wants to die.
- 0:04:42 Conversion
- Friar Diego (imagining?): In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit . . . I convert you into a Christian.
- 0:05:04 The final journey
- Friar Diego: Peace, at last . . . the final journey. The final journey!
Priest: The final journey? To where, Friar Diego?
Friar Diego: To where all mortals go.
- 0:07:06 Witness of destruction
- Topiltzin (recording a battlefield defeat in his codex): "All this happened to us. We saw it. It touched us. This was our fate. By putting it down on paper our essence shall live on."
- 0:09:20 Despair
- Topiltzin (at the battlefield): "Sun God, why have you abandoned us?"
- 0:10:06 Another orphan
- Brother: "We've lost our only Mother."
- 0:10:27 The Spanish as barbarians
- Brother: "The barbarians won't let us be with our gods."
- 0:11:08 The word of the people
- Grandmother: "This codex is the word of our people. It's worthy of our Mother Goddess."
- 0:12:09 The skeptical captain
- Friar Diego: I don't like what you said to our soldiers about these acts of purification, Cristobal.
Capitán Cristóbal Quijano: Excuse me?
Friar Diego: Much of what you told them at sunrise could be taken as blasphemy.
Capitán Cristóbal: Or as an absolute truth, Friar Diego. On this side of the ocean anything a Captain says or doesn't say to his soldiers is an absolute truth, especially if they are inexperienced and have just arrived from Spain like yourself. Try to see with your eyes, not with your faith.
- 0:13:00 The same old story
- Friar Diego: Friar Diego: Captain, we're supposed to be in this together.
Capitán Cristóbal: Only because I have to be. Cortes has imposed you on me like a shadow. Besides, what I told my men is true. The only result of the Crusades has been that Muslim ideas entered the Christian world. And if you insist on converting the Indians the same old story will be repeated here in New Spain.
Friar Diego: And that is?
Capitán Cristóbal: A conversion that is never complete, Friar Diego.
- 0:16:15 Serving the Virgin
- Friar Diego (overlooking the Aztec temple): Is this what you wanted us to destroy, Capitán Cristóbal?
Capitán Cristóbal: We serve the Virgin.
- 0:17:45 Battle Cry!
- Soldiers: Down with savagery!
- 0:18:12 Wanting to be sacrificed
- Topiltzin: "Part of me wants you to become one with our Mother Goddess . . . but another part wants you to stay here with me."
Sacrificial virgin: "Do not suffer. This is what my heart desires."
- 0:19:57 Aztecs as aliens
- Friar Diego (on the human sacrifice): You really do come from another world.
- 0:20:56 Preach by example
- Friar Diego (to the Captain): What are you doing in God's name? You're behaving just like them. Preach by example! . . . . I absolve you of all your sins.
- 0:22:52 Guilt
- Topiltzin (to the destroyed image of Tonantzin): "Forgive me, Mother Goddess."
- 0:23:57 Nothing but stones
- Friar Diego (to Topiltzin): Yes, take a good look at her. That lovely woman is Mary, the Mother of God. Yours is nothing but . . . a handful of stones.
- 0:25:01 Giving in
- Brother (revealing the location of the codex): "Better to live."
- 0:25:16 No gold
- Soldier (rifling the base of the sacred statue of Tonantzin): Nothing but fetishes here! Not a speck of gold!
- 0:25:40 Faith
- Friar Diego (burning the codex): If only our soldiers had as much faith as the Indians have in their idols.
- 0:25:48 Wishing death
- Topiltzin: "You should have let me die. Now our history is nothing but smoke."
Brother: "I'll make sure that you live, not die for us. You shall become the voice of eternal fire."
- 0:27:10 The Captain's skepticism
- Capitán Cristóbal: What's gotten into that Indian?
Friar Diego: No more violence, I beg you. The Queen of Heaven knows what she's doing.
. . . .
Capitán Cristóbal: Stupid friar, you'll never convert them.
- 0:29:18 I know who I am
- Brother: "I want you to join us. Tell them you've changed. You can still be with our Gods in secret . . . . We must adapt to survive."
Topiltzin: "I don't adapt. I know who I am."
Brother: "Don't be unfair. My words mirror the beliefs of the Emperor Moctezuma. I didn't understand, but now its clear. We have no other option. Brother, please forgive me for what I shall have to do to save you."
Topiltzin: "Save yourself."
- 0:33:02 The High and Mighty
- Hernando Cortés (to Topiltzin): You are in the presence of Don Hernando Cortes, Governor and Captain General of New Spain, by the Grace of His Majesty, the mighty, illustrious, invincible and Catholic Emperor Charles V, King of Spain.
- 0:33:35 The interpreter
- Tecuichpo (to Topiltzin) "Don't say anything, don't do anything. Don't judge me for being here."
- 0:34:08 Cortes threatens
- Hernando Cortés (to Topiltzin): Are you guilty as accused? Word for Word, Tecuichpo.
Tecuichpo: "Does your heart repent of anything?"
Capitan Cristobal: Answer!
Hernando Cortés: Are you the bastard who tried to kill our venerable Friar Diego in a temple we had just consecrated to Mary the Mother of God? . . . Think what you will of us . . . Wait . . . but our missionaries have come to this godforsaken land only to save your souls.
Tecuichpo (mistranslating): "Their missionaries want our souls, but they don't know where to look for them."
Hernando Cortés: Doesn't this head understand that I can burn you alive for your insolent crime? Is it really the same for you people whether you live or die? Doesn't he know who I am? . . . Or is he silent because of who I am?
Tecuichpo: My Lord, forgive my intrusion, but do you know who this young man is?
Hernando Cortés: No, I don't know, no one has told me.
. . . .
Tecuichpo: His name is Topiltzin, one of the natural sons of my father, the Emperor Montezuma. . . . Topiltzin and I are Montezuma's only children here in the capital. No need to remind you that I am the legitimate heiress to my father's fortune, but since I'm a woman people have reservations. Don Hernando, it would serve you to keep my half-brother close by.
Hernando Cortés: And his dimmed reason? Was he born like that?
Tecuichpo: No, it's recent. As I said he used to make unique codices. He's like this because of your evil captian Pedro de Alvarado and the massacre that you carried out at the Great Temple.
- 0:37:50 The first born
- Scribe: And this one? Who is she?
Capitán Cristóbal: Tecuichpo, the daughter of Moctezuma.
Scribe: What happened to his mistress Malinche? Did Cortes hang her next to Prince Cuauhtemoc in Honduras?
Capitán Cristóbal: No, he got fed up with her and gave her to Captain Jaramillo.
Scribe: He gave away the mother of his first born?
Capitán Cristóbal: First born? A half breed?
- 0:38:57 Topiltzin becomes Tomas
- Hernando Cortés: You, write this down. Tonight a small group of Indians will be gathered in the Palace square and the ritual descent of the icon of the Virgin Mary will be performed. It is my royal will that the natural son of the Emperor Montezuma then be . . . severely punished, made to renounce, and converted to Christianity.
Capitan Cristobal: But his crime deserves burning at the stake.
Hernando Cortés: Capitan Cristobal Quijano of Seville will carry out the whipping of the Indian named Tepilsin--
Tecuichpo: Topiltzin! Cuauhtlahtohuac Topiltzin!
Scribe: Should I listen to her?
Hernando Cortés: No. Call him Tomas. Cristobal will give the Indian 33 lashes with the leather whip. Then after Dr, Ojeda has taken care of his wounds, Tomas will be sent to the Monastery of Our Lady of Light where he will be educated in the one true faith by Friar Diego of la Coruna and taught the Castilian language by the noble woman, who, from this day on, in the eyes of all, will be known by no other name than Dona Isabel Moctezuma, to whom I hear and now grant the province of Tacuba.
- 0:41:04 Racism
- Scribe: Isabel Moctezuma? Or Isabel Mactezuma-Cortes?
Hernando Cortés: The first.
Capitán Cristóbal (to Tecuichpo): Your mixture is disgusting to God.
Registrar: There's no reason to believe that. If God were disgusted by mixtures -- Heaven forbid -- he'd have to get rid of a good number of Spaniards.
- 0:44:00 Cortes unfulfilled
- Hernando Cortés (to Tecuichpo): Were I this gold necklace so that I could live between your breasts, Dona Isabel. Honor me by wearing it at the conversion of your brother, Tomas, a great Christian occasion for me.
Tecuichpo: Thank you, Don Hernando.
Hernando Cortés: Don't think I have fallen for your story. Why have you saved that proud Indian's life?
Tecuichpo: I never lie to you, Don Hernando. His mother was my father's favorite mistress.
Hernando Cortés: As you are mine!
Tecuichpo: No, please, Don Hernando, facing Topiltzin has not been easy for me. His eyes remind me of my husband's, Prince Cuahtemoc, whom you had killed for no reason.
Hernando Cortés: What more do you want from me. I left Malinche for you. I've given you the light of the true God and part of my kingdom. What else do you want from me? That I give up everything and become the scapegoat for your people's disgrace?
- 0:47:01 The Re-Naming
- Priest (speaking for Topiltzin): I born in darkness and until today known by the pagan name of Topiltzin, I renounce!
- 0:47:18 Proud Cortes
- Tecuichpo: How can you not realize that you're not who you think you are!
Hernando Cortes: I am Don Hernando Cortes, Governor and Captain General of New Spain by the work and grace of this hand and of my own words. I have never needed anyone else!
Tecuichpo: Give me your word, then, for once, that my brother Topiltzin shall live.
Hernando Cortes: If Tomas is, in fact, your half-brother, as I would like to believe, I give you my word that you and Friar Diego will convert him to one of us. And not only in language but, more importantly, in ambition and spirit. On my honor, Dona Isabel, I give you my word.
- 0:48:03 The renouncement
- Priest: And thus He became man. . . . And, thus, I ask our eminent scribe Ramon Quevedo to consider this conversion at an end, so that all of us, Spaniards and Indians, can be worthy and responsible witnesses.
Cortes: Who is this sodomite? Why is he, and not Friar Diego, pronouncing Topiltzin's renouncement?
Tecuichpo: Perhaps Friar Diego doesn't approve of how you pay homage to the Lord, Don Hernando.
- 0:49:30 Mother Mary
- [Is this the Virgin Mary or the Indian woman in the crowd, or a blurring of the two]: "This is my body, This is my blood."
- 0:49:40 Another Mother
- Indian woman (to a baby in the crowd at Topiltzin's torture/conversion): "Even though your skin is white, I will never abandon you."
- 0:51:01 Indian unrest
- Capitán Cristóbal: Be it well known in this time of light and iron, that we've only acted here in defense of the Virgin Mary And, so, our deeds are absolved by the grace of His Majesty Don Hernando Cortes in his struggle against the heretics who still crawl among you.
Indian: "Your blood is worth nothing."
Interpreter: He says your words are not worthy of the Great White Lady.
Capitán Cristóbal: Nobody dare move until the sentence has been carried out.
- 0:52:02 A slap in the face
- Tecuichpo: In memory of my father, stop him! You've forbidden public use of the chain. Can't you see he wants to kill him?
Cortes: There's nothing to be done. He has the power now. You have to know when to use authority, and when to use patience. The Indians will take care of Cristobal the first time they have the chance.
Tecuichpo: So you won't do anything? You gave me your word! I thought you were more of a man than this. You're worse than Cristobal. He doesn't pretend to care about my people. (Hernando Cortés slaps her)
Hernando Cortés: I don't give a damn about your people! It is you I care for.
- 0:52:56 Whose fault is it?
- Friar Diego: Deliver me, God, from this Apocalypse.
Tecuichpo: This is all your fault! If the scoundrel Cristobal kills him, it will weigh on your conscience forever!
Friar Diego: I am not responsible for what they do in the name of God!
Tecuichpo: Why have you come to take away what is ours?
- 0:57:42 The consipracy
- Tecuichpo: "Here's the signature plate I stole from Cortes. We'll cause him real trouble with King Charles V. Sign it. . . . Sweet revenge!"
Topiltzin: "I hope you know what you're doing."
- 1:00:04 Friar Diego's Nahuatl
- Friar Diego (showing he understands Nahuatl): "And may God be with you."
- 1:00:06 No option
- Friar Diego (to Topiltzin): Yesterday I found you praying devoutly in church. You asked me all kinds of imprudent, though sincere questions about the birth of our Saviour. Full of hope, I allow myself to believe that you're on your way to a genuine, profound conversion, like those who are not afraid to question their beliefs. But today I find you and Dona Isabel whispering in Mexican . . . . You'll have to choose between one world and the other, my son. Unfortunately, for you and your people, the two have little in common. And the way I see things, you really don't have much of an option.
- 1:03:27 Sex for survival
- Tecuichpo (having sex with Topiltzin): "We are made of one piece."
Topiltzin: "Tecuichpo . . . The survival of our blood depends on us."
- 1:04:53 The missionary's mission
- Friar Diego (writing to Cortes): Considering that Tomas was only a pawn in Dona Isabel's scheme to dishonor you by forging your letters to the King of Spain, I hereby appeal to your sincere devotion to the Virgin Mary so that you may keep Dona Isabel from returning to this monastery and refrain from punishing Tomas, for it has become my utmost mission in life to save this Indian's soul.
- 1:09:19 The baby isn't yours
- Hernando Cortés: Never more shall you risk my honor before the King of Spain before yourself or anyone else.
Hernando Cortés: Just bury my honor along with our child . . . painful love of mine.
Tecuichpo: "My Lord, my unending sorrow, you can harm me no more." "This is my body . . . this is my blood." Make my blood flow if you must. It will not be in vain.
Hernando Cortés: Why did you never let me reach you, Tecuichpo?
Tecuichpo: The child I am carrying is not yours, Don Hernando. This is my body, this is my blood.
- 1:13:13 Body but not spirit
- Indian woman: How long has he been like this? . . . Ever since that story with Cortes's "lady"?
Priest: Even you know about it already. . . . Poor Indian. What a rival in love he chose . . . His Majesty Don Hernando.
Woman: No one understands why Cortes hasn't had him burned at the stake.
Priest: He owes that to Friar Diego.
Topiltzin (in feverish frenzy): Holy Mother! Holy Mother! Into your hands I give up my body! But my spirit, never!
Grandmother (later, over the sacrificial Virgin, within his dream/hallucination): "You are the chosen one."
- 1:17:06 We are alike
- Friar Diego: Is this what you came here to learn? To falsify the truth?
Topiltzin: To falsify the truth is better than to destroy it! Have you forgotten what you did in the Temple of the Mother Goddess? You turned my people into ashes. Our truth went up in smoke.
FriarDiego: What truth? Sacrificing innocent virgins to satisfy your blood thirsty idols?
Topiltzin: You and I, deep inside, share the same belief, Fray Diego, even though we come from different worlds. We live in all times and all places. From the beginning, we have been meeting in different ways. That is why you and I don't mind being blocked up here . . . together. Our encounter is inevitable . . . and eternal.
Friar Diego: May God bless you, Tomas. And may he save you from Dona Isabel's fate . . . who preferred to take her own life rather than be tortured for her crimes.
Topiltzin: . . . Don't be a coward!
- 1:21:15 Children of one God
- Rolando (on finding Topiltzin at the sacristy door): Ecce homo! [Behold the man!] At least we found him in humble prayer.
Friar Diego: Thank God.
. . . .
Friar Diego: Why do you disappear like that? If the guards found you here, they'd surely beat you up . . . That lovely woman is just as true as yours. What matters now is that this is a new word.
. . . .
Topiltzin: We too are the children of the one God, to whom heaven and earth belong!
- 1:24:09 Simple work
- Friar Diego: Find him a simple . . . very specific task . . . to keep him living and responsible toward others. He who doesn't work loses his human qualities. And by no means is he to enter the sacristy.
- 1:25:20 Blind to the truth
- Rolando: You are forbidden to come to the sacristy. What do you want here?
Topiltzin: This time I won't forgive you! Let me go in! Can't you see you're putting our destiny at risk? . . . . If I could I would send you! But believe me, only I can do it! You would die if you even touched her. How can you be so blind to the truth.
- 1:26:12 Strength of my will
- Topiltzin (feverishly): "Sister! Mother Goddess! Into your hands I give up my body! But the strength of my will, never!"
- 1:27:43 A cure for Topiltzin
- Aztec girl: How did you find these caves?
Friar Diego (beginning in Nahuatl): "My own God" . . . has sent me to find a cure for Toplitzin, son of _____
Aztec priestess: I know who Topiltzin is . . .
Aztec girl: There's nothing to be done. Topiltzin is now a spirit without the limits of a body.
- 1:29:59 Mother
- Topiltzin: If you only knew how much strength I need to accomplish my mission.
Cook: Yes, I already heard that you're going to save the world. Just do me a favor, leave me alone. A known evil is better than feeding human flesh to one of your bug-eyed gods.
Topiltzin: You converts eat yours.
Cook: Hasn't Fray Diego explained to you the sacred mystery of transubstantiation?
Topiltzin: Yes, in great detail . . . . Have you seen how lovely the icon of the Virgin Mary is?
Cook: Which one? There are so many images of the Virgin Mary?
Topiltzin: No, no, one of them . . . the one in the sacristy. She's the one we can see . . . but can never understand.
Cook: Where are you going now?
Topiltzin: Me? Nowhere.
. . . .
Topiltzin: On the contrary, I'm staying. But perhaps . . . we'll never meet again . . . I thank you from my heart for all your kindness . . . Mother.
Cook: It's all right. Am I not here? Are you not safe in my arms?
Topiltzin: Don't say anything to Fray Diego.
- 1:43:34 A miracle of tolerance and love
- Friar Diego (some in Nahuatl): "Topiltzin, Now you have left us. Wake up. May our venerable Mother keep you forever with dignity." Go and call Don Hernando Cortes and tell the conqueror that you bear a message from heaven. Tell him that I, Friar Diego de La Coruña, bid him come to the Monastery of Our Lady of Light, That before he leaves for Spain to reconquer the King he must witness the miracle of how two different races can be as one through tolerance and love.
- 1:46:29 God of All
- Friar Diego: Your ways are truly a mystery. God of All.