Guarani film wows critics at Venice Film Festival

September 4, 2008

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A film starring Brazilian Indians who had never acted before has wowed critics at the Venice Film Festival, where it premiered this week.

Birdwatchers’ by Chilean/Italian director Marco Bechis stars Guarani-Kaiowá Indians in their acting debut, and highlights the plight of the tribe, whose lands are being destroyed to produce biofuels.

The Times critic Wendy Ide wrote, ‘Even before Birdwatchers screened to the press, the Lido was saturated by rumours that the film was something special. This technically impressive tale didn’t disappoint.’

In the International Herald Tribune, Roderick Conway Morris wrote, ‘A brilliant and subtle example of filmmaking that paints a powerful, although not exactly optimistic, picture of human resilience and dignity, "Birdwatchers" emerged as a front-runner for the Golden Lion midway through Venice's film festival.’

Lee Marshall in Screen Daily called the film, ‘a thoughtful, engaged but unpolemical drama about the ongoing effects of colonialism.’

Survival International has opened a fund
, in association with ‘Birdwatchers’, to support the Guarani. All donations will go towards helping them defend their rights, lands and futures.