Earth, Memory and Future: Environmental Justice and Indigenous Resistance in Latin America

Film history demonstrates that Indigenous communities have been involved in cinema since its advent, protagonists of an aesthetics of resistance which has been enacted on screens. This year Document honours the lifetime work of Colombian filmmaker Marta Rodríguez with a special presentation of the digitally remastered Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future, produced with co-director Jorge Silva in collaboration with the Coconuco community.

 

The feature films included in this strand concern environmental justice, spiritual repair and the connections between memory and identity – calling attention to diverse forms of resistance, exposing life, death, territory, and the transformative power of film as storytelling.

 

Susana de Sousa Dias’ latest work, Fordlandia Malaise, explores the legacy and landscape of Henry Ford’s failed neocolonialist endeavour to build a factory town in the Amazon, which remains in ruins in the threatened rainforest today; whilst Camila Freitas’s Chão, depicts protagonists from the Landless Workers movement in Brazil fighting for land reform, a battle made all the more important as President Jair Bolsonaro declares the landless ‘enemies of the nation’. And the strand’s coda takes the form of a sister programme of Indigenous-authored short films – Truambi (lullaby) – exploring contemporary representations of indigeneity.

Co-curated with Dr Charlotte Gleghorn – Lecturer in Latin American Film Studies, Edinburgh University

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Chão

Made over a period of four years, Chão documents the lives of a group of landless workers in the Brazilian state of Goiás. Since 2015, the workers have occupied a portion of a factory site and demanded land reform. The film provides insights into the group’s everyday routine, divided between tilling the land, political activism and talk of what a better future might look like – delving into the microstructures of local political action and life in the resistance.

It was only recently that Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, added the landless to the list of enemies of the nation and called on landowners to take up arms to defend their property.

SCOTTISH PREMIERE

Info

Event: Film

Director: Camila Freitas

Year: 2019

Country: Brazil

Date: Friday 25 October

Time: 2.00pm

Running Time: 112m

Location: CCA Theatre

Environmental Justice in Latin America – Panel Discussion

Join us for an informal, long-form panel discussion with experts in the field exploring issues stemming from the movement for environmental justice in Latin America – touching on the discourse around land rights, indigineity, colonial pathologies, and strategies of resistance.

With the destruction of the Amazon rainforest currently raising awareness of the relationship between neoliberal capitalism, climate breakdown and mass displacement, we aim to take a deeper dive into the histories and contemporary reflections of extractive practises and policies in the region and what they mean on a local and global scale.

And with 2019 designated the international Year of Indigenous Languages, we also look to explore the agency and centrality of indigenous peoples in shaping the struggle for environmental and human rights, and ways we can all look to ally in the fight.

The discussion will be chaired by Dr Julie Gibbings, Lecturer in the History of the Americas at the University of Edinburgh, and panelists include Dr Tatiana Heise, Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Info

Event: Panel Discussion

Date: Saturday 26 October

Time: 1.45pm

Location: CCA Cinema

Fordlandia Malaise + Sour Lake

A film about the memory and the present of Fordlandia, the company town founded by Henry Ford in the Amazon rain forest in 1928. His aim was to break the British rubber monopoly and produce this material in Brazil for his car production in the United States. Today, the remains of construction testify to the scale of the failure of this neocolonialist endeavor that lasted less than a decade.

Today, Fordlandia is a space suspended between times, between the 20th and 21st centuries, between utopia and dystopia, between visibility and invisibility: architectural buildings of steel, glass, and masonry still remain in use while traces of indigenous life left no marks on the ground.

SCOTTISH PREMIERE

*Content warning: The opening passage of Fordlandia Malaise contains strobe lighting

Sour Lake

Andrés Dávila | 2019 | Colombia, Ecuador | 15mins

Inspired by the name of a Texas oil city, Sour Lake was the name given by Texaco in the 1960s to a small town recast in the Ecuadorian jungle, known in Spanish as Lago Agrio. This name gives origin to the framework from which the short film was made, shot from the surroundings of this city to the Colombian Andes, where the vegetation of the jungle begins to fuse with the mountains.

These geographical sites – connected with each other for centuries – are crossed by numerous economic, ecological, political and territorial issues that arose since the sixteenth century, when the Spanish conquistadors explored them in search for El Dorado. It is from these geographical, social and imaginary confluences that Sour Lake interrogates the relationship between these territories and their inhabitants.

 

Presented in collaboration with IberoDocs

 

Info

Event: Film

Director: Susana de Sousa Dias

Year: 2019

Country: Portugal, Brazil

Date: Sunday 27 October

Time: 1.30pm

Running Time: 40m

Location: CCA Cinema

Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future

This digital restoration of Marta Rodríguez’ and Jorge Silva’s 1981 feature honours an important work of Latin American political cinema, one that doesn’t posit indigenous culture in romantic contrast to modernity, but rather recognizes in it an aesthetic of resistance.

The dominant subject of Rodríguez and Silva’s films is the centuries-long oppression of farmers and indigenous peoples in Colombia, and their equally long resistance. Nuestra voz de tierra, memoria y futuro is a film that would not exist without the critical participation of the indigenous farmers of Coconuco. Images no longer function as argumentative proof for eyewitness accounts, but rather form a tightly woven system of signs: furrows in the landscape, the backs of animals, the gestures of monuments, the myths and masks of the people and the breath that brings musical instruments to life.

UK PREMIERE (RESTORATION)

Presented in collaboration with IberoDocs

This screening will be captioned for D/deaf and Hard of Hearing audiences.
Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI.

Info

Event: Film

Director: Marta Rodríguez, Jorge Silva

Year: 1981

Country: Colombia

Date: Saturday 26 October

Time: 8.00pm

Running Time: 105m

Location: CCA Theatre

Truambi: Land, Memory and Indigeneity

Indigenous filmmakers craft complex productions engaging with ideas around belonging, identity and territoriality. This programme of short film productions, all directed by Indigenous artists, offers a glimpse of the diversity of contemporary Latin American Indigenous film, exercising the right to self-representation and projecting narratives of migration, cultural memory, and environmental knowledge.  The programme takes its name from a thirty-minute documentary featured in the programme, directed by Embera filmmaker Mileidy Orozco Domicó. Truambi, lullaby in English, captures the initiation of a young girl into the homeland of her mother and her extended family. By way of the journey and the young child’s contact with nature and her relatives, the film invites us to question the categories and characteristics associated with indigeneity.

Viewed together, these works initiate a reflection on the thorny constitution of Indigenous film as a category, demonstrating a wide range of experiences and drawing attention to the power of audiovisual storytelling to unsettle dominant colonial narratives of indigeneity.

Join us for this exciting Latin American programme and see for yourselves the vitality of new cinematic languages from the region.

 

Curated by Dr Charlotte Gleghorn, Lecturer in Latin American Film Studies, Edinburgh University & followed by a conversation with filmmaker and screenwriter Armando Bautista. 

Info

Event: Film

Director: Various

Date: Sunday 27 October

Time: 3.15pm

Location: CCA Theatre