Reality and myths mix in the Amazon

INDIGENOUS: A piercing portrait of the Yanomami people amid encroachments on indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest.

«The Yanomami have inhabited a territory in the north of Brazil and south of Venezuela for over 1000 years. 500 years before either country existed, the Yanomami were already there.»

Decades after the discovery of gold in Yanomami lands, the area straddling the Brazil and Venezuela border has seen a renewed influx of illegal wildcat miners. Prospectors, known as garimpeiros, have poured into the area in thousands, scouring the Amazon rainforest in hopes of tapping its mineral riches. Recent reports reveal an expansion of illegal mining activities in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory, with an increase of 30 per cent in 2020 alone. Some blame far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose rhetoric is believed to have emboldened illegal gold prospectors in the area. With the rising encroachment on Yanomami lands have come environmental degradation, mercury pollution and deadly diseases, including most recently COVID-19, even in some of the isolated indigenous communities.

The Last Forest, a film by Luiz Bolognesi
The Last Forest, a film by Luiz Bolognesi

Man’s place

In his new film The Last Forest, Brazilian filmmaker Luiz Bolognesi delves into the depths of the Amazon rainforest, engrossing the viewer into the reality of its dwellers as they struggle to safeguard their environment . . .

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Sevara Pan
Journalist and film critic.
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