Starting in two weeks Facets Multimedia will host a weeklong series of films
about Brazil's indigenous population. The lineup contains some impressive-sounding documentaries (including the 1983 short Box of Treasures
by local professor and Kartemquin Films board member Judy Hoffman), though if there's one unmissable film here, it's the rarely revived The Age of the Earth
(1980), which screens Saturday 6/21 at 8:30 PM. Earth
is the final work by Glauber Rocha, one of the most important and controversial of all Brazilian filmmakers. (As Brazilian critic Franthiesco Ballerini explained
to me last fall, Rocha remains a divisive figure in his native country three decades after his death.) It's an epic film that draws on a variety of cinematic traditions—from ethnographic documentary to experimental narrative—to consider the impact of western imperialism on indigenous Brazil. The major characters are an American imperialist named Brahms and four different Christ figures (listed in the credits as Black Christ, Indigenous Christ, Military Christ, and Guerilla Christ) who attempt to stop his destructive campaign through the Brazilian wilderness. Reportedly the director's most abstract film, Rocha claimed that the sequences of Earth
could be screened in any order and have the same effect. I suspect that Facets will stick to the order in which it's usually presented, though.