DIRECTOR: MIKA KAURISMAKI
COUNTRY: FINLAND/BRAZIL 1990
MUSIC: NANA VASCONCELLOS (ECM JAZZ LABEL)
PHOTOGRAPHY: TIMO SALMINEN
WRITTEN BY: MIKA and RICHARD REITINGER
CAST: KARI VANANEN, ROBERT DAVI, RAE DAWN CHONG, MINNA, AILI SOVIO, RUI POLANAH, CHICO DIAZ
SUPER FEATURES: THE INDIANS. THE JUNGLE.
The unfortunate thing about most rain forest films, is that there can be no poetic justice done to that world. The fortunate thing, is that the jungle has staying power, and puts up a good fight, and hopefully will survive the battles, and win the war.
And the odd thing, is that some film maker in Finland, cares about it much more than we might like to admit, and create a film that is unusual, not at all sentimental, and besides a little positive ness, there still is a force that has to be dealt with.
It is the story of a man and his two daughters, running away from his wife's accidental death, ending up in Rio de Janeiro, in the hope of a new life. His new hope ends up in despair, and takes him towards the Amazon, where there is a rush for diamonds, and precious stones, in a few parts, specially in the higher plains, near the Peruvian, Colombian, and Venezuelan borders. And there, on the barren trans-Atlantic road, he meets an American pilot, who does much running of anything between villages to pay for his habit, cachaca and women, and of course, a hope of finding some diamonds in order to get himself a living.
In the course of making a new friend, he gets caught up in the gold rush, and with the American set off to fix a caterpillar tractor, which they hope would help the mining of the precious stones, where they want to go. The problem is that the dead tractor is abandoned some 300 kilometers away. On their last trip, the plane crashes in the middle of nowhere, and the American dies. The finish man, is found by the Indians, and nursed back to reasonable health, until he decides to leave. On his trip up river on a small canoe, he happens to eventually meet up with the village where his daughters are still being cared by the woman he has befriended. As the film ends, he is thankful for the miraculous ways, and decides that to live in that paradise is good enough for him...... as the sound of a helicopter thunders away and it rises to bring into the area a brand new tractor.
It's a strong image, and one which the film shows, as starting out of individual dreams of grandeur and riches. This man has survived the rigors of an old life and jungle. Can he survive the rigors of the society he left behind???
With music by the Brazilian percussionist NANA VASCONCELLOS, whose music is well known in that area of Europe, due to his work with Jan Garbarek, Kjell Johansen, and several other jazz world names, this film has an air of Brazilian-ness which many other slick productions do not. Unlike some productions, the Indians here are strict by standers, and interact as they feel, without a script, thus stripping away the usual cinematic styled stereotype. It is as authentic as it comes.
A BIT SAD, WITH POSITIVE HUMAN STRENGTH, ONLY TO BE UNDERMINED BY HUMAN GREED.
3 of 5 GIBLOONS
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