“Genocide kills people in their physical bodies and ethnocide in their spirit, their essence, their way of living, their culture.” - A Manifesto of Indigenous People of Brazil
The Paiter Suruí people, whose territory is located in the Brazilian Amazon, didn’t have contact with the outside world until the late 1960s. Since then their traditional way of life has been threatened by the encroachment of Western values, religion, medicine, and technology. Perpera, an elder who works as a doorman at the local church, recounts how he stopped his shamanism after the village priest denounced the practice as connected to the devil. But Perpera can still speak to the spirits of the forest, and when illness strikes, the community turns to him, seeking his ancestral knowledge.
Coinciding with Ex-Shaman’s world premiere at the Berlinale, a group of twenty-seven Indigenous leaders from various territories in Brazil released a powerful manifesto calling for the respect of shamans, the natural world, and traditional cultures. In the spirit of this message, Luiz Bolognesi’s immersive cinematography elucidates the gentle rhythms of village life and the surrounding environment. The manifesto’s call to action: “More Shamans, more Sky, more Spirits, more Forest, more Life. Less hate. Less intolerance. Less racism,” could not be more necessary or more vital. -MS