ADRIAN COWELL FILMS

The Destruction of the Indian

A three-part series was filmed in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru.

Part 1: THE HEART OF THE FOREST

This film follows the Villas Boas brothers in the early days of the Xingu National Park. The Park was set up to protect both the environment and the indigenous peoples of the area who were being threatened by the advance of industrialization. The film also reveals the complex relationship that the Indians have with land; for them, the land is seen as a friend, one which is personified in animistic spirits who are the providers of the essentials for life. This relationship is expressed through the many rituals which form the basis of their way of life.

Part 2: PATH TO EXTINCTION

This film continues to explore the plight of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. The situation was aggravated by huge tracts of pristine rainforest in northern Mato Grosso becoming available on the world market in the form of land titles. During this period, the Villas Boas brothers and the Indian Protection Service (Serviço de Proteção aos Indios) were involved in a race against time as they tried to reach the remaining uncontacted tribes and offer them the safety of the Xingu National Park.

Part 3: CARNIVAL OF VIOLENCE

Every year Carnival is celebrated throughout South America. The final documentary in this series was filmed around Lake Titicaca, on the border of Peru and Bolivia where the largest Andean festival is held. In Peru, the film shows the celebrations which continue for weeks as the peasant farmers dance to give thanks for their harvest. Here again, land is an issue. Traditionally, there was sufficient land for all the indigenous farmers, but, as the film shows, most of their land has been taken from them. On the Bolivian side of the lake, the situation in the town of Puno is dramatically different. Here, the Aymara Indians had rebelled and seized and redistributed the lands of the large landowners. The film then moves to Lima where 30,000 Indians a year enter the slums attracted by reward of a higher income.

Claudio Villas Boas by Jesco von Puttkamer

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