Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Xingu [2012]

MPAA (Unrated would be PG-13/R) Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
Adorocinema listing - [PT Orig][ENG trans]

Xingu [IMDb][AC-PT orig][ENG trans] directed and cowritten by Cao Hamburger [IMDb][AC Pt orig][AC Eng trans] along with Elena Soarez [IMDb] and Anna Muylaert [IMDb] is a remarkable Brazilian film that played recently at the 48th Chicago International Film Festival (Oct 11-25, 2012) about three brothers from a middle class family from São Paulo -- Claudio, Orlando and Leonardo Villas Boas (played by João Miguel [IMDb][AC Pt orig][AC Eng trans], Filipe Camargo [IMDb][AC Pt orig][AC Eng trans] and Ciao Blat [IMDb][AC Pt orig][AC Eng trans] respectively) who in the 1940s pretended to be illiterate in order to be allowed to join a Brazilian military expedition into the as of that time largely unexplored interior of Brazil specifically into the region called Mato Grosso.

Despite having good comfortable jobs São Paulo, the three brothers did so for the adventure of it _and_ out of a true respect/fascination with Brazil's indigenous peoples.  When the expedition had traversed a fair amount of the wilds, it made contact with the Xingu peoples in Mato Grosso and the three brothers became instrumental in establishing a remarkable relationship of respect between Brazil's government/military and the Xingu peoples such that the development of the area in the decades that followed actually resulted in the creation of a surprisingly successful Xingu National Park (under the supervision of the three brothers) where the Xingu peoples as well as others from the whole of the Amazon region were able to survive and keep their native ways of life more or less in peace.

(North) American readers will no doubt know of the both the largely tragic history of the Reservation system in the United States as well as Brazil's own often tragic history in this regard.  This film provides an IMHO much needed opportunity for viewers/readers to come to know, evaluate and hopefully learn from what could well be a true and very nice success!  Honestly good job makers of this this film and God bless you! ;-)


My own religious order, The Friar Servants of Mary, as small as it has always been, has actually been very much involved in many of the issues surrounding the Amazon Rain Forest from calling for a 10 year moritorium on logging in the Amazon rain forest to the defense of both the indigenous peoples of Acre state in Brazil and the white/poor rubber tappers (seringueros) sent up to Acre in the 1940s by the Brazilian military during the same time as the three Villas-Bôas brothers joined the expedition that they took part in from São Paulo.  The Brazilian Servites in Acre knew the famed eco-martyr Chico Mendes personally (he was a _parishioner_ of theirs from their church at Xapuri in Acre, and he traveled with the Servites on their "desobriga" trips up and down the rivers of Acre as they did their missionary work.   In recent years, the Brazilian Servites contracted a book written by Brazilian writer Milton Claro to tell the story of "The Amazonia that We Do Not Know" mostly about the remarkable yet largely unknown humble people who inhabit the Amazon region.  I was the book's primary translator into English and since it was always intended for free distribution, I recently put it up on the internet so that people like yourselves could have access to it.  It is a truly remarkable text and there are entire chapters dedicated to the environmental destruction of the Amazon [2] [3], to the lives and challenges of the Indigenous peoples [2] [3] [4] and to the case of Chico Mendes.

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