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Lands cover photo

Lands 2009

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Maya da-Rin
Directed by Maya da-Rin
DVD, color, 88 min.

General Adult
Anthropology, Geography, Latin America Studies, Postcolonialism, South American Studies, Travel and Tourism

Date Entered: 01/07/2011

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Early in this feature-length documentary film by Brazilian director da-Rin, a cab driver tells the camera “a frontier serves many purposes.” In this case, that frontier is in a remote corner of the Amazonas region of South America, where the national boundaries of Colombia, Brazil and Peru meet. There are also both visible and invisible borders here between river and rainforest, as well as intersections and tensions between a contemporary, urbanized city and a traditional, indigenous culture.

Narrated by the working poor of Letícia, Colombia and Tabatinga, Brazil, along with villagers from an area near Santa Rosa, Peru, daily life on the border is a story of activity and movement of people and products. Although people and products, cabs, motorbikes, boats and foot traffic seem to move from place to place and country to country with relative ease, there are also those here who may be more in touch with the land but are less free to move about it. For the indigenous people in this place long before the Franciscan Spanish or rubber plantation owners divided it up, the artificial borders have resulted in a loss of land and identity. Here, where the land and people have suffered from so many influences, the danger is that they will eventually fade into nothing.

The beautifully executed commentary combines both experimental and standard documentary camera techniques. Snatches of conversation, edited with numerous short, fast interviews, skillfully captures life on the street, on the river and in the rainforest, without imposing an obvious message. Highly recommended.