RELIGION: A testament to the human and cultural destructive power of white, Christian arrogance.
Nick Holdsworth
Nick Holdsworth
Our regular critic.
Published date: November 19, 2020

White, Christian fundamentalists never waiver from a belief in their – or rather God’s – superiority. Arami Ullón’s IDFA opening film Nothing But The Sun show how first the missionaries came for the native Ayoreo people of Paraguay’s remote Chaco forests, and then the cattle ranchers.

Death came soon after first contact with the whites, the indigenous people dying like flies in epidemics of measles. Later, the cattle ranchers simply sent their men to shoot those who resisted being taken out of the forest, «civilized» and converted to Christianity. Once the people had been eradicated, the ranchers could parcel up the land, destroy the forest, and grow rich off of their beef farming.

However, the Paraguayan director’s film is not a history of the painful destruction of people and culture; the tales of horror and tragedy emerge as viewers follow Mateo Sobode Chiqueno, who, since the 1970s, has been recording the stories, songs, and testimonies of his Ayoreo people.

Working with a battered old cassette player – he has nothing more sophisticated – Mateo’s efforts to create a record of a fast-disappearing culture; of the knowledge of plants and soil, Shamanism and …

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