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ALMA cover photo

ALMA 2012

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Green Planet Films, 21 Columbus Ave. Suite 205, San Francisco, CA 94111; 415-377-5471
Produced by Patrick Rouxel
Directed by Patrick Rouxel
DVD , color, 88 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Environmental Studies, South American Studies

Date Entered: 08/03/2012

Reviewed by Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State University Libraries, Bowling Green, OH

ALMA (the soul), the second in Patrick Rouxel’s trilogy on rainforest destruction, is presented without narration, a visual poem that describes the beauties of the Amazon ecosystem destroyed by deforestation for lumbering and the burning of the remaining undergrowth to provide pastures for the cattle industry. The loss of wilderness habitat and exotic species is contrasted with the rather mundane end products of the destroyed rainforest. Lumbering supplies wood for furniture and building in Brazil, and more importantly supplies exotic woods for export to the furniture industries overseas. Pastureland provides beef and dairy products. The processing of beef for export is graphically shown and may upset younger viewers, as well as the extraordinary cruelties inherent in cattle processing and culling for the beef and dairy industry. To what effect? Jobs are created for those who work in the lumber, beef and dairy industries, as well as retailers and exporters of beef and dairy products. Are these jobs, the Brazilian economy, the exotic woods, leather and beef for export, and beef and dairy products for domestic consumption, worth the destruction of the ecosystem?

The overall quality of the film is excellent from the beautiful nature cinematography at the beginning through the gritty documentary filming of cattle processing, herding and culling, the cumulative effect of which suggests dehumanization those employed in the process. The filmmaker is fair to also show the good side of these industries in the economy, the relative prosperity that gives rise to vehicle ownership, rodeos and beef festivals. The film editing is excellent, and again, the viewer is subtly asked to decide if the destruction is worth it all. The film can be seen online or downloaded free from the film’s website, and public performance rights come with the purchase of the DVD.

This video is highly recommended. The rise of Brazilian exports in the world economy comes at an enormous cost to the Amazon rainforests. Those who are able to view this film will certainly be educated on the scope of the choices that have been made to allow the Brazilian economy to prosper. The filmmaker suggests that we help the planet by cutting down on the consumption of meat, leather, and products from exotic woods. It is up to each viewer to decide the extent of his or her reduction in consumption, also whether further steps need be taken to ensure the preservation of the Amazon rainforest.