The Dead and Others (2018) **** Marrakech International Film Festival 2018
Docudrama | 114’ | Brazil/Portugal
Directed by Palme d’Or winner João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora, THE DEAD AND THE OTHERS is an extraordinary docudrama based on their experiences of living for nearly a year in Pedra Branca, a village inhabited by the indigenous community of the Kraho people in Northern Brazil. The Kraho very much want to continue their way of life and traditions in their rural community, striving to be self-sufficient. Their plight very much connects with a global narrative of survival for small communities all over the world.
Fifteen year old Ihjãc has been suffering from nightmares since he lost his father and in the opening scene he walks through the rain forest in the light of the moon. A distant sound of chanting comes through the palm trees. His father’s voice calls him to the waterfall. It is now time to organise the funeral feast so his father’s spirit can depart to the village of the Dead and mourning can cease. Although his baby son Tepto was born in the local hospital, Ihjãc still spends most of his life with his family in the remote forest and although the village elders are urging him to fulfil his duty to undergo the crucial process of becoming a shaman, Ihjãc escapes back to the local town to avoid the transition. There, far from his people and culture, he faces the reality of being an indigenous native in contemporary Brazil.
With its themes of loss, displacement and cultural identity, this is an masterful if rather overlong piece of filmmaking that feels woozily impressionistic but also strangely urgent in its message, glowingly conveyed in vibrant high contrast cinematography MT
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