Luiz Bolognesi’s ‘The Last Forest’, playing at the Berlinale, takes us to the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon basin

Posted on March 5, 2021


This is a record of a rapidly vanishing home. In 1986, the discovery of gold deposits led to an invasion by 45000 prospectors and the death of 1500-1800 natives.

Spoilers ahead…

In Ex Pajé (2018), filmmaker and anthropologist Luiz Bolognesi captured the spirit, the essence, the modern-day conflicts of the Paiter Suruí, an indigenous community living in the Amazon basin. His new documentary, A Última Floresta (The Last Forest), is playing at the Panorama section of the Berlinale — and it’s a continuation of sorts. This time, Bolognesi focuses on the Yanomami, who live in the Brazilian-Venezuelan borders. Correction: a title card tells us that they lived in these regions before either country existed.

This sense of people coming before nations is reflected beautifully in the opening, where we hover past a mountain and mists of cloud and land on a man with a bow and arrow. The only “modern” aspect of him is his pair of shorts. He is in a place surrounded by reeds, and you doubt if he cares whether it’s in Brazil or in Venezuela. To him, it’s Eden. It’s home. It’s the place that hosts the scaly creature he is after, and ends up killing. He brings it home to his wife, who makes a meal. The images are primal: man as hunter-gatherer, woman as nurturer.

Read the rest of this article at the link above.

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