A black and white foreign movie that's over two hours long? Who among us is such a base philistine that he can't appreciate this best foreign film nominee from Columbia? At the 1:11 mark, we look into cool eyeglasses in movies..
I haven't seen this and it sounds like it's Not For Me, but wouldn't the difference between technological navigation and penicillin be: technological navigation may be more efficient, convenient, versatile, foolproof, or accurate than traditional celestial navigation, but it's just another way to accomplish the same goal, whereas penicillin actually does stuff, up to and including saving lives, that was impossible in any other way prior to its use?
I'm not suggesting absolute equivalence between penicillin and the compass. Sure there are differences. I'm just saying that technological advances aren't the same as subverting culture. Theo in the movie says that the natives having a compass will mean they no longer use celestial navigation. I fail to see why reliable navigation would undermine a culture. Yet Theo seems to put it on par with, say, introducing Christianity or gunpowder.
Also, it's another example of me not understanding why characters do things in this movie, which is one of the reasons it didn't work for me. For most of that scene, I assumed Theo needed his compass so he could navigate. That he was so insistent because not having it was to his own personal detriment! That made sense. It was a scene about urgency that I understood. But when he reveals that it's all about not wanting to undermine celestial navigation, and I'm all, uh, really? That's what I just saw? Jeeze, dude, are you really against the betterment of these people's lives?