The Final Five Films


This documentary looks at the construction of the controversial hydroelectric Tucurui dam. The film starts with the inauguration of the dam by the Brazilian President in 1985. The film bears witness, over a twenty year period, to the social and environmental upheaval caused by the failure of the government and construction company to develop a comprehensive plan for the project. The film shows the impact of the dam on the local indigenous tribes and settlers. Pressure from concerned agencies finally led to the foundation of a sustainable development reserve on the islands of the reservoir lake.


This film examines the international policy against global warming and the carbon credits model as a potential solution. As a result of the annual burning of the Brazilian rainforest between 200 – 300 million tonnes of carbon enters the atmosphere. This figure is about half the emissions the countries party to the Climate Convention have agreed to reduce. One solution is carbon sequestration by reforestation. Carbon Credits are seen by Brazil as a potential means to meeting the environmental demands and simultaneously ensuring the survival of the pig iron industry. Having decimated the surrounding forest and faced with ever increasing costs of obtaining the charcoal essential to the smelting of pig iron, the factories are desperate for a means to ensure a plentiful supply of trees. It is possible to plant quick growing eucalyptus which would reduce greenhouse gases, but the price of pig iron is so low that the factories cannot afford to do it.


In yet another twist of the fate of the Amazon forest, this film looks at the impact of the surge in mechanized soy farms on both the environment and the traditional ranchers of the Mato Grosso in western Brazil. The BR163 road connects the landlocked soy growing state of Mato Grosso with the new Cargill grain port in Santarem in neighboring Para. Once the road is paved, the cost of transporting the soy to the coast will shrink. Land for soy is being bought up at such a rate that the traditional ranchers are being completely surrounded by mechanized plantations.


Chico Mendes, the rubber tapper union leader who fought for the rights of the ‘seringueiros’, was assassinated in 1988 by a rancher. Throughout the 1980s Marina Silva, now Minister for the Environment, was a close friend and colleague of Chico’s. In this film, Marina Silva talks about Chico’s dreams and policies and how the new government plans to realize them.


Walmir de Jesus, director of the local branch of IBAMA in Ji-Panara, fights a seemingly endless battle against the illegal logging trade of the state of Rondonia. The film follows Walmir for a year as he encounters rampant corruption in politics and the local civil service and other problems in the small logging town of Sao Domingos Guapore. His investigations there lead to fines of a quarter of a million dollars being imposed on members of the town’s elite, including a senator, a minister from one of the coalition parties forming the government.

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