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Ex-Shaman (Ex-Pajé)

Directed by Luiz Bolognesi

  • Brazil 2018; 81 min
  • Original version: Tupi, Portuguese
  • Genre: Documentary


Ever since their first contact with the Western world in 1969 the Paiter Suruí, an indigenous people living in the Amazon basin, have been exposed to sweeping social changes. Smartphones, gas, electricity, medicines, weapons and social media have now replaced their traditional way of life. Illness is a risk for a community increasingly unable to isolate itself from the modernisations brought by white people or the power of the church. Ethnocide threatens to destroy their soul. With dogged persistence, Perpera, a Christianised former shaman, is searching for a way to restore the old vitality to his village. Luiz Bolognesi’s film sensitively documents how western technology and church-based prayer are subsuming the lives of a people whose world was previously shaped by hunting, harvest and community meals. Unfolding in densely atmospheric images, this film reveals their deep connection to the unpredictable rain forest, from which Perpera draws the strength he needs to resist the encroaching eradication of their cultural identity. His unwavering trust in the supernatural allows him to wander between quiet submission and targeted protection of the existential values that characterise the Paiter Suruí.




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