28 August 2005 | donelan-1
Transports you Brazil's precolonial past
I saw this film many years ago when the directors brought it to the Pacific Film Archive. I have yet to see another film that can compare with it. There have been quite a few African films set in precolonial times, but the world they portray is no longer simple. Africans developed great civilizations of their own in the Middle Ages, and had early contacts with both Arabs and Europeans.
The actors in the Brazilian film are Indians - some urbanized, some still living in the jungle. The story takes place before the arrival of Europeans, and is both realistic and mythic. A young man sets out from his village to test himself. There is almost no dialog - the story is told with images: the journey (by dugout canoe and on foot); the challenge; the ritual combat; the courtship; and the conflict. Many directors could learn by studying this film, and if it were available on DVD, perhaps it would inspire similar films based on North American Indians. The obvious source material would be the novels of Robert Conley, a Cherokee Indian who writes stories about The Real People both before and during European incursions. War Woman, for example, could make a great film.