José Padilha

SECRETS OF THE TRIBE (World Documentary Competition)

Article: SECRETS OF THE TRIBE (World Documentary Competition)

SECRETS OF THE TRIBE (World Documentary Competition)

The Yanomami Indians are an Amazonian tribe who lived in total isolation from the modern world until a half century ago, when one anthropologist after another started showing up to observe, document, and eventually exploit what they saw (and, in some cases, fetishized) as a virginal society. Piecing together testimonials from key researchers in the field and from tribe members, Brazilian documentarian José Padilha (BUS 174, Sundance ’03) progressively complicates the picture. Underlying all the bitter accusations and recriminations are the starkly opposed views of cultural and scientific anthropologists (the latter emphasize the role of evolutionary biology) and the conflicting assumptions that these native others are either noble innocents or violent primitives.