The Center for Human Rights and International Justice screened the award winning documentary, Piripkura, followed by a Q&A session with the film’s director, Mariana Oliva, on Tuesday afternoon. The documentary won the Amsterdam Human Rights Award at this year’s International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
The film, which took over four years to create, follows Jair Candor as he searches for the last two living men of the Piripkura indigenous group, Pakyi and Tamandua, in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. The third and final living member of the tribe, Rita, is Pakyi’s sister and Tamandua’s aunt. She fled the area years ago when logging companies sent mercenaries to kill the community.
Oliva stated that the “story symbolizes what has been happening with indigenous people” and explained how a “wave of violence against indigenous people has increased in Brazil” as the newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, tries to enact policies that threaten the land of many indigenous groups.
Candor’s mission was to find proof that these two men are still alive because as long as they live, their land is protected.
In Brazil, there are about six isolated groups of indigenous people in 20 indigenous territories, with the Piripkura men living much closer to the areas threatened by logging and farming than some of the other groups.
Brazil has a law that does not allow forced contact with indigenous people. Oliva explained that in the editing of the film, the crew made an effort to show the genuine and deep respect that Candor and the others had for Pakyi and Tamandua's decisions.
According to Oliva, the documentary was “not an anthropological report,” rather, it was created to “get a glimpse of [Pakyi and Tamndua’s] world.”