AMAZONIA DAMMED

Directed by Ada Bodjolle  | Review by Antonio Rozich 

The selfishness is the modern man, and by “modern man”, I mean you, no matter where you are. Our culture has been described as the exploiter, the conqueror, and a simple school bully who’s been terrorizing everyone else for its own selfish goal for so long, we literary became deaf to these acquisitions. From medieval times to the conquering of the Americas and finally, current events such as the one represented in Amazonia Dammed where the Munduruku people’s way of life is being threatened by the building of the mega-dams. Our culture has been selfishly taking what it wants without even pondering on the thought that it doesn’t belong to us.

Ada Bodjolle’s Amazonia Dammed depicts the problem of a mega-dam being built in the heart of the Amazon and the impact it has on the community of SawréMuybu.  Like in many similar cases before (and sadly, many cases that will happen in the future), it’s a story about one culture forcing its needs and benefits at the cost of another culture. For the Munduruku people, the river is everything; not only does it feed the hungry mouths, but the river has been shaping their way of living probably since these people decided to settle there.

The story sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s so familiar, we are the people of the dominant culture but we don’t even bother to process it. Similar cases did happen so many times before, and yes, we do feel bad for this happening to someone else, but who are we to do anything about it? Each one of us is just another helpless individual with no ability whatsoever that could possibly help these people. In fact, many of us don’t even live anywhere near Brazil. In fact, the writer of this review is also included.

But still, is there really a better way to describe our culture than a spoiled school bully who punches and takes money from the weaker kids first and doesn’t ask questions later? When I say culture, I don’t specifically mean any American, European or Asian culture. It refers to everyone who’s living in a city, uses the Internet, consumes without producing, watches TV, and is enjoying the fruits that have been grown at the expense of the weaker cultures. So that means you, me, and pretty much everyone else who is able to access this review from the pleasure of their home – we are the spoiled and selfish school bully.

Although we can’t really do anything more than hope for the community of SawréMuybu to win the battle against the Brazilian government, isn’t it a bit sad how we do nothing more than passively give our condolences?  Of course, there’s no sense in leaving your life behind just to rush to the other side of the World and help the ones in need. But what if something similar happens to an inferior culture near you? Will you still passively give your condolences at one moment and move on with your regular life the next? Or will you like Ada Bodjolle and her crew try and do something – no matter if it’s shooting a film or giving a helping hand.

The role of documentaries like Amazonia Dammed isn’t for you to be amazed; it isn’t for you to learn something or to be entertained. The role of documentaries like this one is to keep you aware of the fact that horrible things are happening to other people around the World constantly. Although it might not be happening in your surroundings right now, one day it probably will. And when you or the people around you become the next “Munduruku people”, what will you do? Will you really be satisfied with the fact somebody out there feels your trouble, but moves on surfing the Internet right after the credits start to roll? Or will you, simply, feel nothing more than pure disappointment.

 

While he isn’t writing for Cult Critic, Antonio Rozich is working as a copywriter for a filmmaking startup called Try Cinema. Besides his usual copywriting, he also helps filmmakers with their screenplays by editing them and finding the ways to improve the initial filmmaker’s idea. When all of that is done, he turns to his true & original love: writing flash fiction, which he posts regularly on his site Syeta Stories.