The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in this fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomami Indians. In the 1960s and ’70s, a steady stream of anthropologists filed into the Amazon Basin to observe this “virgin” society untouched by modern life. Thirty years later, the events surrounding this infiltration have become a scandalous tale of academic ethics and infighting.
The origins of violence and war and the accuracy of data gathering are hotly debated among the scholarly clan. Soon these disputes take on Heart of Darkness overtones as they descend into shadowy allegations of sexual and medical violation.
Director José Padilha brilliantly employs two provocative strategies to raise unsettling questions about the boundaries of cultural encounters. He allows professors accused of heinous activities to defend themselves, and the Yanomami to represent their side of the story. As this riveting excavation deconstructs anthropology’s colonial legacy, it challenges our society’s myths of objectivity and the very notion of “the other.”—Sundance Film Festival
José Padilha is an award-winning Brazilian director of the Brazilian films Bus 174,Tropa de Elite – which earned him a Golden Bear award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival – and Tropa de Elite 2.
The films form part of a trilogy, looking at the influence of media, police and, finally, polticians.
His film Secrets of the Tribe premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. This documentary explores the allegations, first brought to light in the book Darkness in El Dorado, that anthropologists studying the Yanomami Indians in the 1960s and 70s engaged in bizarre and inappropriate interactions with the tribe, including sexual and medical violations. On March 02, 2011, it was announced that José Padilha will direct the new RoboCop film. —Wikipedia