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Criticism | The Last Forest – Denunciation of a population threatened by the Brazilian government

To understand the drama shared by Luiz Bolognesi (Ex-Pajé, 2018) and Davi Kopenawa, you need a bit of historical context, given at the beginning and end of the documentary The Last Forest, the only Brazilian representative at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival. Yanomami tribe has lived in the Amazon rainforest, on the border between Venezuela and Brazil, for over 1000 years. For several decades, residents suffered from the invasion of gold miners and the spread of disease in the area. The culmination of this dispute was the Haximu Massacre (1992/93), which resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 indigenous people.

Since then, Chief Davi Kopenawa has fought for a government protection law, which brought 25 years of peace to his people. In early 2019, however, with the arrival of Jair Bolsonaro as President of the Republic, 20,000 minors entered the territory and brought the Covid-19 virus to the natives. Once the dimension of the struggle in question is established, The Last Forest not only raises awareness of the devastating consequences of industrialization and urbanization of forest dwellers, but also encourages reflection on our own understanding of the good. to be.

The complaint filed by Bolognesi does not directly address a culprit, nor is it categorical in presenting evidence of a crime. The documentary is supported in a hybrid way by accompanying the daily life of the natives and in the simulation of local legends. The imagination therefore gains space to tell the origin of these people and their tireless struggle to keep nature away from industrial exploitation.

Like most ethnographic accounts of the indigenous lineage, the history of the Yanomami is full of myths and folklore. Through Davi Kopenawa’s narration, the documentary depicts the legend of brothers Ohmama and Yoasi, who were the only humans on Earth and lived with supernatural beings. The other humans were born from Ohmama’s union with Thuëyoma, a mythical woman who lived underwater.

According to legend, it was Yoasi’s betrayal and his expulsion from the territory that caused the arrival of evil spirits in the tribe. Thus, Ohmama would have hidden the minerals, that is, the wealth of the region, under the ground so that anyone could touch them. Between playful tales and daily tasks, such as hunting, preparing beiju and weaving baskets, The Last Forest transports us to the habitat of this people and enriches the understanding of the clash between the tribe and the invaders. After all, as has been said, the foreign presence contaminates drinking water, dries up rivers and prevents the peace of sleep of others.

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In a symbolic moment, the tribal chief speaks with one of the youngest and presents his experience of going to work for the whites, driven by the seduction of his offerings. However, he specifies how the Indians, who work as laborers in industrial exploitation and destruction of the forest, are treated as destitute, without roots and strangers on their own land so as not to master Portuguese. A touching story that emphasizes the shaman’s maxim: “despite having a lot of goods, the white man does not share”.

In the home stretch, The Last Forest presents Davi Kopenawa’s visit to Harvard University to share the extermination of his tribe, which today has only 35,000 inhabitants. To end this ridiculous denunciation, Luiz Bolognesi shows his narrator looking out a window and listening to the sound that surrounds him, very different from the songs of birds and the currents of rivers. A pessimistic message in a story of the struggle for survival.

The Last Forest will be presented for the first time in Brazil at the Festival É Tudo Verdade 2021, on April 18 at 7 p.m.

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