Filmmakers have been depicting the conflicted initial meetings between native populations and explorers for decades. It’s an alluring and emotionally fraught event—two groups unsure of how to proceed, often devolving into violence. It’s also a perfect illustration of dramatic irony, as the audience knows the violent conquest history of new world explorers in North and South America, but the native characters feel out the situations with awe and fear. This video essay highlights several films that depict these tentative encounters, whether on the shores of what would become America or deep in the Amazon rainforest.