612 – Davi Kopenawa, Bruce Albert, Alison Dundy – The falling sky – words of a Yanomami shaman

The Falling Sky is a remarkable first-person account of the life story and cosmo-ecological thought of Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami of the Brazilian Amazon. Representing a people whose very existence is in jeopardy, Davi Kopenawa paints an unforgettable picture of Yanomami culture, past and present, in the heart of the rainforest–a world where ancient indigenous knowledge and shamanic traditions cope with the global geopolitics of an insatiable natural resources extraction industry.the-falling-sky-1In richly evocative language, Kopenawa recounts his initiation and experience as a shaman, as well as his first encounters with outsiders: government officials, missionaries, road workers, cattle ranchers, and gold prospectors. He vividly describes the ensuing cultural repression, environmental devastation, and deaths resulting from epidemics and violence. To counter these threats, Davi Kopenawa became a global ambassador for his endangered people. The Falling Sky follows him from his native village in the Northern Amazon to Brazilian cities and finally on transatlantic flights bound for European and American capitals. These travels constitute a shamanic critique of Western industrial society, whose endless material greed, mass violence, and ecological blindness contrast sharply with Yanomami cultural values.

Bruce Albert, a close friend since the 1970s, superbly captures Kopenawa’s intense, poetic voice. This collaborative work provides a unique reading experience that is at the same time a coming-of-age story, a historical account, and a shamanic philosophy, but most of all an impassioned plea to respect native rights and preserve the Amazon rainforest. (amazon)

“When I come back from a trip among the white people, the dizziness leaves my eyes after a while and my thought be-comes clear again. I no longer hear cars, machines, or airplanes. I only lend an ear to the tooro toads and krouma frogs that call the rain in the forest. I only hear the rustling of the leaves in the wind and the rumbling of the thunders in the sky. The ignorant words of the city politicians gradually vanish in the quiet of my sleep. I become calm again by going to hunt and making my spirits dance.

The forest is very beautiful to see. It is cool and aromatic. When you move through it to hunt or travel, you feel joyful and your mind is slow-paced. You listen to the chirping of the cicadas in the distance, or the cries of the curassows and the agami herons, and the clamor of the spider monkeys in the trees. Your worries are eased. Your thoughts can then follow one another without getting obscured.”

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368 – Boy and the World (2013)

The.Boy.and.the.World.posterBoy and the World (Portuguese: O Menino e o Mundo) is a 2013 Brazilian animated film written and directed by Alê Abreu.  The film was created using a mix of both drawing and painting and digital animation. The entire film is told with very little dialogue and what dialogue there is, is actually Portuguese, but backwards.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3183630/

152 – The Lost City of Z (2016)

spacetime coordinates: Ireland 1905 > England 1924  //  uncharted eastern Bolivia 1906, uncharted Amazonia 1912, 1925 // Battle of the Somme, France 1916

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The Lost City of Z is a 2016 American biographical adventure drama film written and directed by James Gray, based on the 2009 book of the same name by David Grann. It describes real events surrounding British explorer Percy Fawcett who was sent to Bolivia and later made several attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon and disappeared in 1925 along with his son on an expedition.

imdb.com     wikipedia

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On 21 March 2004, the British newspaper The Observer reported that television director Misha Williams, who had studied Fawcett’s private papers, believed that Fawcett had not intended to return to Britain but rather meant to found a commune in the jungle based on theosophical principles and the worship of his son Jack.  – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Fawcett

James Gray’s tremendous The Lost City Of Z finds meaning in the unknown: “an operatic drama, an adventure saga, an anti-colonialist critique, a veiled artistic self-portrait, and, yes, even a revisionist grail legend. “

066 – The Mission (1986)

spacetime coordinates:  18th century South America

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The Mission is based on events surrounding the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, in which Spain ceded part of Jesuit Paraguay to Portugal. A significant subtext is the impending Suppression of the Jesuits, of which Father Gabriel is warned by the film’s narrator, Cardinal Altamirano, who was once himself a Jesuit. Altamirano, speaking in hindsight in 1758, corresponds to the actual Andalusian Jesuit Father Luis Altamirano, who was sent by Jesuit Superior General Ignacio Visconti to Paraguay in 1752 to transfer territory from Spain to Portugal. He oversaw the transfer of seven missions south and east of the Río Uruguay, that had been settled by Guaranis and Jesuits in the 17th century. As compensation, Spain promised each mission 4,000 pesos, or fewer than 1 peso for each of the circa 30,000 Guaranis of the seven missions, while the cultivated lands, livestock, and buildings were estimated to be worth 7–16 million pesos. The film’s climax is the Guarani War of 1754–1756, during which historical Guaranís defended their homes against Spanish-Portuguese forces implementing the Treaty of Madrid. For the film, a re-creation was made of one of the seven missions, São Miguel das Missões.

Father Gabriel’s character is loosely based on the life of Paraguayan saint and Jesuit Roque González de Santa Cruz. The story is taken from the book The Lost Cities of Paraguay by Father C. J. McNaspy, S.J., who was also a consultant on the film.

The waterfall setting of the film suggests the combination of these events with the story of older missions, founded between 1610–1630 on the Paranapanema River above the Guaíra Falls, from which Paulista slave raids forced Guaranís and Jesuits to flee in 1631. The battle at the end of the film evokes the eight-day Battle of Mbororé in 1641, a battle fought on land as well as in boats on rivers, in which the Jesuit-organized, firearm-equipped Guaraní forces stopped the Paulista raiders.

Historical inaccuracies

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