Directed by Brazilian screenwriter, Luiz Bolognesi Netflix’s social study A Última Floresta or The Last Forest is a deep insight into the heart of the mighty Amazon forest with a closer look at the Yanomani community’s way of life in the wild nature – and their consequent struggle to conserve it. Luiz Bolognesi does a wonderful job of controlling his cultural fetishry in this powerful documentary and instead gives the native community a narrative voice of their own.
Netflix describes this thought-provoking documentary in the following words,
Mixing dramatization and documentary, this film depicts the indigenous Yanomami tribe’s way of life – and their struggle to preserve it.
– A Ultima Floresta review does not contain spoilers –
This cultural documentary spanning seventy six minutes has been written by Luiz Bolognesi himself and Davi Kopenawa Yanomami who is considered to be an elder in the Yanomami community, the indigenous people living on the rain forest terrain of the Brazilian-Venezuelan border. While the Yanomami community’s conventional, elemental way of life aggressively competes with the modern world across the river, the elders in the community encourage the younger generation to protect their thousand-year-old culture but there’s more to the story than just feisty conservatism.
Afterall, history has proven time and again how the white man is more than a threat to indigenous communities residing on their native lands. Bolognesi’s holistic thought-provoking documentary highlights these points clearly, putting Kopenawa’s point of view in perspective. Rather than providing an anthropological tour of an indigenous community, Bolognesi indulges in filmmaking that is conscious, which is highly rewarding in it’s own light.
The Yanomami, thus, presents themselves in their own terms, talking at length about everything – from their meals to their rich folklore. The documentary could definitely be a little more expansive, in terms of probing into the perspectives and lives of Yanomami individuals other than Kopenawa, the public spokesperson of the tribe and co-writer to Bolognesi. It is almost a relief that Bolognesi does not fall back on the exotic pattern of showcasing indigenous tribes living elemental lives.
Bolognesi and cinematographer Pedro J. Marquez does a rewarding job of capturing unfamiliar sights, unknown sounds and age-old traditions of the Yanomami community that are significant both spiritually and logically. The Last Forest is a most interesting watch when it’s centred on such practical narratives but often the plot is conflicted with a parallel set of constructed storyline that’s nothing more than fiction and whimsy.
Bolognesi uses the tribes people as actors bringing in pieces of mythology revolving around fraternal rivalry, male impregnation and even mermaid romance. Somehow this storytelling narrative does not mix well with the ‘investigative’ (as defined by Netflix), observational plotline of this Brazilian social documentary. However, there’s no denying that Bolognesi does a good job of involving people from the community as active participants.
Summing Up The Last Forest: A Must-watch
A must-watch, The Last Forest is the thought-provoking Brazilian social documentary that you signed up for this weekend. By the the time The Last Forest reaches end credits, the modern word surprisingly starts to fade and feel like the ‘other’ for a change – the perspective that Kopenawa puts through makes sense and you are left with intensive knowledge about the lifestyle of the Yanomami community. Forget about white man’s history and give The Last Forest, the credits it deserves.
The Last Forest is now streaming on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.