Wednesday, 26, January, 2022

Film screening marks 60 years of the Xingu Indigenous Park

From December 1st to 12th, the Cinema Echospeaker Show promotes special programming Xingu 60 Years, with 31 films available online and free. 

The event marks the six decades of existence of the Xingu Indigenous Park, created in 1961 to guarantee the survival, better living conditions and land tenure of the region's indigenous population and to preserve their culture, habits and beliefs. At the time, the largest and most important Brazilian Indian reserve, the park was an initiative of sertanistas led by the Villas-Bôas brothers - Claudio, Orlando and Leonardo. 

The program features short, medium and feature films, bringing together pioneering productions from 1932 until titles completed in 2021 and still unpublished. 

Works signed by renowned filmmakers stand out – such as Aurélio Michiles, Mari Corrêa, Maureen Bisilliat, Paula Gaitán and Vincent Carelli – alongside recent works by indigenous filmmakers from the Xingu region, such as Takumã Kuikuro, who debuts in the exhibition with two new titles , and Kamikia Kisêdjê.

The movies and other activities can be accessed for free through the event website, as a partner of the platform culture at home.

about the movies

Co-production between France, Brazil and Belgium, "Raoni" (1978) was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary (in its North American version, voiced by Marlon Brando). In the Brazilian version, with the voice of Paulo César Pereio, it won four awards at the Gramado Festival, including best film. This is the version shown in the show. The work follows the struggle of chief Raoni for the preservation of the Xingu National Park, threatened by land grabbers, hunters and loggers. The feature film was shot clandestinely in the Xingu National Park in early 1975, during the Brazilian military dictatorship. The direction is signed by the Belgian filmmaker and writer Jean-Pierre Dutilleux (from “Amazon Forever” and “Une Histoire Amazonienne”) and by the Brazilian photographer and editor Luiz Carlos Saldanha. At the show, the film is displayed in a freshly scanned copy at 4K resolution, which offers the highest image quality. 

By photographer Maureen Bisilliat, who was a partner of the Villas-Bôas brothers, the program shows "Xingu/Earth" (1981), a portrait of the daily life of a village belonging to the Mehinaku indigenous group, in Alto Xingu, awarded a double award at the Brasília Festival of Brazilian Cinema. Planting, fishing, pottery, the preparation of annatto ink, the modeling of domestic pottery, the relationship between parents and children and the wedding ceremony are some of the aspects covered in the work. English based in Brazil, Bisilliat made a series of trips to the Xingu, having launched in 1979, in co-authorship with the brothers Cláudio and Orlando Villas-Bôas, the book “Xingu: Território Tribal”. According to specialists, she developed one of the most solid works of photographic investigation, focusing on themes such as the sertanejos and indigenous peoples. 

In “The Great Brazil and the Giant Indians” (1995), filmmaker Aurélio Michiles (from the feature films “O Cineasta da Selva” and “Tudo por Amor ao Cinema”) narrates the saga of the Krenakarore tribe (also known as Panará) and portrays the violent change in the destiny of the indigenous people after his contact with white men. The work includes testimonies by anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro and economist Roberto Campos. Orlando and Cláudio Villas-Bôas, the first whites to come into contact with the Krenakarore, are also participating. The film is produced by ISA – Instituto Socioambiental.

Until today commercially unprecedented in Brazil, "Whoa" (1988) delicately documents the universe and movements of one of the most famous rituals of the Xinguan indigenous peoples, the Kuarup. Awarded at the Festival de Amiens (France), the work marked the debut in the direction of feature films by Paula Gaitán, director honored in 2021 by the Tiradentes Film Festival. The widow of filmmaker Glauber Rocha, Gaitán directed features such as “Diário de Sintra” and “Exilados do Volcão” – the latter winner of the Brasília Festival of Brazilian Cinema.

Directed by Daniel Solá Santiago (from “Família Alcântara”) and exhibited at the É Tudo Verdade festival, "Heart of Brazil" (2012) brings together three members of the expedition that demarcated the geographic center of Brazil in 1958 – explorer Sérgio Vahia de Abreu, documentary filmmaker Adrian Cowell and chief Raoni. They revisit villages, rediscovering characters and verifying the condition of indigenous people 50 years after the creation of the Xingu Indigenous Park.

Short film and documentary filmmaker awarded at festivals such as Havana and Brasília, filmmaker Nilson Villas-Bôas promotes in "The Last White Kuarup" (2008) a reassessment of the Xingu Indigenous Park after 50 years of its creation. In the work, the oldest indigenous people still haven't forgotten the original lands, which they left behind, and some want to return to their old origins.

are present in Xingu 60 Years pioneering works, signed by Luiz Thomaz Reis, Jesco von Puttkamer and Heinz Forthmann. the silent documentary "Around Brazil", from 1932, brings together the main records of Major Luiz Thomaz Reis (1878-1940) on his incursions into the interior of the North and Midwest regions of Brazil, between 1924 and 1930, following different episodes of the military-scientific-civilization project known as Rondon Commission.

Photographer and filmmaker of German origin, Heinz Forthmann (1915-1978) produced a work that ranks among the most important in Brazilian ethnographic cinema. He was part of the Expeditions team of the Indian Protection Service (SPI) which, from 1942 onwards, recorded precious images of the interior of Brazil and of the country's indigenous peoples. Highlighted by its beautiful color photography, "Kuarup", a film made in 1966 and part of the program, documents the homonym ritual dedicated to the illustrious dead.

Considered one of the forerunners of visual anthropology in Brazil, filmmaker and photographer Jesco von Puttkamer (1919-1994) dedicated a large part of his life to the production of one of the largest existing audiovisual collections on Brazilian indigenous peoples. The program includes three titles by the director, one of them unprecedented in Brazil: "The Destiny of Amazon Women" (1960, unpublished in Brazil), about the legend of the Amazons and how these women and their customs may have survived in other tribes in the region. Already "Contact with a Hostile Tribe" (1965) documents the first contacts of the Villas-Boas brothers with the Txicão indigenous people (Ikpeng) in 1965. "Incident in Mato Grosso" (1965), in turn, focuses on the transfer of the Kaiabi indigenous group to Parque do Xingu. It's still scheduled "Bubula the Red Guy" (1999), documentary about Jesco von Puttkamer directed by Luiz Eduardo Jorge, which narrates his historical trajectory over four decades and was awarded at the Brasília Festival and at Cine-PE | Audiovisual Festival (Recife), among other events.

Great honored in the third edition of the Ecospeaker Film Festival, in 2014, Washington Novaes (1934-2020) was a journalist who dealt with special attention to the themes of the environment and indigenous cultures. In "Xingu – Threatened Land", 2007 series, whose first episode is shown in the exhibition, he revisits the Xingu region, in which he had made another documentary series, “Xingu – Terra Mágica”, in the 1980s, and finds the same indigenous groups previously portrayed, only which is now suffering from the pressure of economic development.

Xingu 60 Years exhibits six productions of Vídeo nas Aldeias, a project created in 1986 that uses audiovisual resources to fortify the identity of indigenous peoples and their culture. The big highlight is “Itão Kue-gü – The Hyper Women” (2011), directed by Carlos Fausto, Leonardo Sette and Takumã Kuikuro. The work won the Olhar de Cinema – International Festival of Curitiba, was awarded at the FICA – International Environmental Film Festival (Goiás) and at the Brasília and Gramado festivals, in addition to being selected for prestigious international events, such as the festivals in Rotterdam, Bafici-Buenos Aires and Amsterdam World Cinema. The film focuses on the greatest female ritual in the Alto Xingu region.

Also from the same project are “Kiarãsâ Yõ Sâty – The Agoutis Peanut” (2005, voted best documentary at the Bahia International Film Journey and at forumdoc.bh – Belo Horizonte Documentary and Ethnographic Film Festival), by Paturi Panará and Komoi Panará, about peanut harvesting and daily life in a Panará village; Imbé Gikegü – Smell of Pequi” (2006), by Takumã Kuikuro and Maricá Kuikuro, who explain, with a lot of humor, why pequi has a strong smell, according to the Kuikuro legend; and “Kîsêdjê ro Sujareni – The Kisêdjê Tell Their Story” (2011), by Kamikia Kisêdjê and Whinti Suyá, bringing together narratives about the first contacts with the white man and the recent history of the Kîsêdjê people.

Co-directed by Mari Corrêa – who has three other films at the event – and Vincent Carelli (from the features “Corumbiara” and “Martírio”), "Back to the Good Land" (2008) narrates the trajectory of the Panará indigenous group, from exile to re-encounter with their original territory. The narrative starts from the first contact with the white man, in 1973, goes through exile in the Xingu Indigenous Park and even the struggle and repossession of possession of their lands. The production won two awards at the International Ethnographic Film Festival (Rio de Janeiro).

By filmmaker Mari Corrêa, the program features three other productions. "Prínop: My First Contact" (2007, co-directed with Karané Ikpeng) brings back memories of the first contact of the Ikpeng indigenous people with the white man, exile, the abandoned land, the desire and struggle for a return. Already "The Body and the Spirits" (1996) reports the encounter between two opposing views of health, with doctors and shamans trying to reconcile modern medicine and shamanism. In turn, “Where Have the Swallows Gone?” (2015) warns about climate change and growing heat, which harm trees, burn the forest, silence cicadas and spoil the fruits of the garden. The film, co-directed with ISA, was shown at the Climate Conference in Paris (COP 21). 

The movie “Yarang Mamin” (2019), a choreography by Instituto Catitu and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) directed by filmmaker Kamatxi Ikpeng. The documentary portrays the daily lives of women who formed a movement to collect forest seeds, a work that made it possible to plant around 1 million trees in the basins of the Xingu and Araguaia Rivers.

By filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro, co-director of “Itão Kue-gü – As Hiper Mulheres” and “Imbé Gikegü – Cheiro de Pequi”, the event promotes the premiere of two new works. “Kukuho – Canto Vivo Wauja” (2021) focuses on a musician, storyteller and leader of the Waujá do Xingu community who tries to preserve and share the traditional music of his people. "Pequi Territory" (2021) shows how pequi became a symbol of a vast cultural and genetic heritage. A member of the Kuikuro indigenous village and currently living in the Ipatse village, in the Xingu Indigenous Park, Takumã Kuikuro received in 2017 the Honorary Scholarship from the Queen Mary University of London. In 2019, he was the first indigenous juror at the Brasília Festival of Brazilian Cinema.

Another three films are directed or co-directed by filmmaker Kamikia Kisêdjê. The Last Round of the Xingu" (2015, by Kamikia Kisêdjê and Wallace Nogueira) exposes the devastating social and environmental impacts of the construction of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant on the peoples of Volta Grande of the Xingu River. Honorable Mention Winner at the Ecospeaker Film Festival, "Topawa" (2019, by Kamikia Kisêdjê and Simone Giovine) brings testimonies by women from the Apyterewa Indigenous Territory about their first contacts with white men, while making hammocks and baskets from the tucum palm tree. “Wotko and Kokotxi, A Tapayuna Story” (2010, by Kamikia Kisêdjê) tells the tragic story of the Tapayuna people, who, for decades, fought the invasion of their lands. In the late 1950s, with the intensification of rubber exploitation in the region, some whites gave them poisoned meat, causing a large part of the group to die. The film also addresses the resurgence of these Tapayuna people, with narration by a surviving couple.

Already The History of the Agouti and the Monkey" (2012) is signed by indigenous women filmmakers – Wisio Kayabi and Coletivo das Cineastas Xinguanas. The work is based on a traditional history of the Kawaiweté people. 

The film schedule is completed with three recent titles. "The Pink Indian Against the Invisible Beast: Noel Nutels' Spelling" (2020), by Tiago Carvalho, brings together unpublished images from the collection of sanitary doctor Noel Nutels (1913-1973), who toured Brazil dealing with the health of indigenous peoples, riverside dwellers and rural people, never failing to record these experiences with a movie camera. Multi-award winning, the work won the audience award for best documentary, a special mention by the jury and a student award at the Biarritz Festival.

“Olhares Cruzados – Xingu Indigenous Park 50 Years” (2011), by João Pavese, has as its guiding thread the testimonies of indigenous and non-indigenous people about the history, dilemmas and challenges of the consecrated indigenous land, located in the heart of Brazil. Already in "The Second Meeting" (2019), filmmaker Veronique Ballot recovers in the footsteps of her father, photographer Henri Ballot, who was part of the Villas-Bôas brothers' expedition in which the first contact between white men and Metuktire indigenous people took place, in northern Mato Grosso . 

about the debates

With the aim of getting to know and better understand the Xingu Indigenous Park – under what circumstances it was created, the impact of the creation of the first large Indigenous Land demarcated by the federal government and the challenges it faces – Xingu 60 Years organized three debates.

debate 1: Xingu Indigenous Park (PIX): Origins – 12/2, Thursday, at 6:00 pm

With André Villas-Bôas (anthropologist and executive secretary of ISA – Instituto Socioambiental), Maiware Kaiabi (leader of the Kaiabi people) and Mekaron Txucarramã (Kayapó leader and first indigenous person to become director of the PIX), with mediation by Marina Kahn (president of the Iepé – Institute for Indigenous Research and Training).

The meeting intends to contextualize the decision to create the park, the historical moment in which this project took place and the obstacles that its creators had to face. 

debate 2: Xingu images – 12/3, Friday, at 6:00 pm

With Carlos Fausto (anthropologist and documentary filmmaker), Kamikia Kisêdjê (filmmaker), Takumã Kuikuro (filmmaker), Mari Corrêa (filmmaker, founder and director of Instituto Catitu) and Vincent Carelli (indigenist, documentarian and founder of the Video in the Villages project), with mediation by Flávia Guerra (documentarian and cultural journalist).

The meeting promotes a conversation about the audiovisual representation of indigenous peoples in the Xingu region, from the documentation of filmmakers – mostly foreigners – who accompanied the Villas-Bôas brothers on their expeditions, to the recent emergence of indigenous film and cinema collectives. its appropriation of the audiovisual medium and its own representation. 

debate 3: The Xingu Today – 12/11, Saturday, at 6:00 pm

With Douglas Rodrigues (sanitary doctor, Department of Preventive Medicine at Escola Paulista de Medicina / Federal University of São Paulo), Ianukulá Kaiabi Suyá (president of ATIX – Associação Terra Indígena Xingu), Ivã Bocchini (indigenist at ISA – Instituto Socioambiental and articulator of territorial management plans – TIX), Kátia Ono (community coordinator and technical advisor in natural resources and fire management at ISA – Instituto Socioambiental), Sofia Mendonça (sanitary doctor and coordinator of the Xingu Project, Department of Preventive Medicine, at the School Paulista de Medicina / Federal University of São Paulo), Tapi Yawalapiti (professor, former vice president of IPEAX – Xingu Ethno-Environmental Research Institute, former president of the Alto Xingu Local Council for Indigenous Health of the Leonardo Villas Bôas Base Pole and indigenous leadership) and Watatakalu Yawalapiti (leadership of indigenous women from the Upper Xingu), with mediation by Biviany Rojas (ISA – Instituto Socio environmental).

The debate brings into question the current living conditions and maintenance of the way of life of indigenous peoples – is the Xingu Indigenous Park fulfilling its original function? How do indigenous peoples see this territory today and the possibility of its preservation given the many challenges?

Xingu 60 Years it is made possible through the Culture Incentive Law and the Culture Support Program (ProAC). It is sponsored by Mercado Livre, Colgate and Spcine, a public company that promotes the audiovisual sector linked to the Municipal Department of Culture of São Paulo. It is supported by White Martins, Valgroup and Itaú. It is a production by Doc & Other Things and a co-production by Química Cultural. The realization is by Ecovoz, from the Government of the State of São Paulo, through the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy, the Ministry of Tourism and the Federal Government.

The most important South American audiovisual event dedicated to socio-environmental themes, the Cinema Echospeaker Show held its 10th edition in the months of August and September. The initiative, by the NGO echo speaker, directed by Chico Guariba. 

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