Indigenous Cinema '22
Week Five December 9 – 12, 2022

Os espíritos só entendem o nosso idioma (The Spirits Only Understand Our Language)

Title: Os espíritos só entendem o nosso idioma (The Spirits Only Understand Our Language)
Release Date: 2019
Runtime: 5:00 minutes
Director: Cileuza Jemjusi, Robert Tamuxi, and Valdeilson Jolasi
Language: Portuguese and Manoki with English, Spanish or Portuguese subtitles
Countries/Territories: Brazil
Community/Nation: Manoki and Myky
Synopsis: Only four elders of the Manoki population in the Brazilian Amazon still speak their Indigenous language, an imminent risk of losing the means by which they communicate with their spirits. Although this is a difficult topic, young people decide to tell in images and words their version of this long history of relations with non-Indigenous people, talking about their pains, challenges, and desires. Despite all the difficulties of the current context, struggle and hope echo in various dimensions of the short film, indicating that “the Manoki language will survive!”
Director Bio:

Cileuza Jemjusi, Robert Tamuxi, and Valdeilson Jolasi are founding members of the Ijã Mytyli Cinema Collective of Manoki and Myky Indigenous people. The three directors are young leaders in the Manoki Paredão village, located in the Brazilian Amazon. This was their first film, after which Jemjusi made another documentary entitled Piny Pyta. The three directors are currently collaborating on future film projects about Manoki culture.

André Tupxi Lopes is an anthropologist and filmmaker, conducting his PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of São Paulo, with a research internship at New York University. He is a founding member of Ijã Mytyli Cinema Collective of Manoki and Myky Indigenous people, with whom he has been working since 2008. He has participated in the training of Indigenous filmmakers from seven different peoples in Brazil, with whom he has directed and produced collaborative documentaries in the last decade.


Title: Equilíbrio
Release Date: 2020
Runtime: 12 minutes
Director: Olinda Muniz Wanderley
Language: Portuguese with English and Portuguese subtitles
Countries/Territories: Brazil
Community/Nation: Tupinambá, Pataxó hãhãhãe
Synopsis: Told through the storytelling of Kaapora, an Indigneous spiritual entity, the reality of the human condition on Earth is expressed. There is nowhere to run or hide when it comes to confronting our civilization’s destructive relationship with our life-giving planet. It is our very existence that is at risk in the face of our collectively self-centered habits of destruction.
Director Bio: Olinda Tupinambá, Indigenous of the Tupinambá and Pataxó hãhãhãe people, is a journalist, filmmaker, and environmental activist. She has been working with video arts since the end of 2015. Between documentaries, narrative films, and performance, she has produced and directed nine independent audiovisual works and curated several film festivals and shows, including the Cine Kurumin Indigenous Film Festival (2020, 2021) and Mostra Lugar de Mulher é no Cinema (2021, 2022). Wanderley is the producer of two film exhibitions, Amotara - Olhares das Mulheres Indígenas (2021) and Paraguaçu de Cinema Indígena.

Mujeres Espíritu/Spirit Women

Title: Mujeres Espíritu/Spirit Women
Release Date: 2020
Runtime: 43 minutes
Director: Francisco Huichaqueo
Language: Tzotsil, Mapuzungun, Quechua, and Spanish with English subtitles
Countries/Territories: Chile
Community/Nation: Mapuche
Synopsis: This film weaves together a collective portrait of five women united by spirituality and poetry, five women who challenge the camera with their words. They don’t know each other personally, but the force of their declamatory speech, unique to each of their territories, brings them together in a filmic “braiding” that bonds them forever. Tzotzil, Mapuzungun, Quechua, and Spanish, are four beautiful languages that form a semantic field that is not only spoken word, but is also enriched by the sonority of each mother tongue transporting us on a spiritual journey with each woman and her territory.
Director Bio: Francisco Huichaqueo is an artist, filmmaker, and curator. He was born in 1977 in the city of Valdivia (Ainil), in southern Chile, in the Gulumapu territory, west of the Andes Mountains, that is part of the Wallmapu. In 2001, he received a BA in visual arts and in 2013 an MFA in documentary film, both from the University of Chile. His main means of expression are video installation, film, and performance. His work addresses issues that concern both lineage and the Mapuche experience, laying out a nation's worldview, together with its social landscape, history, and culture. His video art installations have been exhibited in outstanding solo shows such as Kalül Trawün (2010/2011) at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago de Chile; Wenupelon (2015/2021) at the Museum of Visual Arts, Santiago de Chile; Malón Wiño (2017) at the Matta Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Trig Metawe Kura (2022) at the Pereira Palace, Santiago de Chile. His films have also been showcased in various international festivals and biennials. Huichaqueo is currently Assistant Professor at the School of the Arts and Humanities in University of Concepción.

The Hemispheric Institute and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution present Indigenous Cinema 2022.

Curated by Amalia Córdova

Following Ailton Krenak’s invitation to consider the interdependence between all living beings, we look at what nourishes and sustains us: from the primary bond to land and water, to acts of healing and ceremony. Beyond denunciation, these films delve into Indigenous conceptions of territoriality and spirituality, with images and sounds that channel vitality, connection and relationality in the face of the multiple threats to our collective wellbeing. Can we retrace the pathways, listen to the seeds, to the rivers, and the poets? Can we petition the spirits and sing in our own languages?


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