22 September 2012 | Andy-296
Interesting documentary about culture clash, and a threatened way of life
John Palmer is an English anthropologist living among the Wichi Indians in Northwest Argentina since the 1970s. A man in his late fifties, he lives with his Wichi wife, and their young children (five, if I'm not mistaken) in a trilingual household (English, Spanish and Wichi are interchangeable spoken at their modest house - which is not a hut, and has several modern appliances, but is still a long way from the Western civilization where Palmer was born. We see the pipe smoking Englishman working to help his adopted community. He goes to prison to visit a man who's on jail for having sex with a 9 year old girl from the tribe (the defense of the man rests on that according to Wichi customs, once a girl has her first menstruation, a man can take her as his wife). He confronts an oil company that wants to put an oil rig in Wichi lands. He talks by phone with his mother who's in England. She's probably in her eighties, but she seemed alert, and despite complaining about back problems, she seems interested in what is going on with her son and grandchildren. As to the community, the young Wichi children seem happy running around, oblivious to the threats facing their tribe. The adults seems resigned to see their traditional way of life threatened – their lands (to which they seem to have no legal title) are increasingly encroached by white settlers who fell the trees of the forest and burn the land so as to develop agriculture. An interesting documentary, especially for its subject matter, since the directing is not particularly inspired.