Amazon | Chicago Reader

Amazon

People who seek medicines from plants and animals in the Amazon share an apparently uncomplicated goal—the easing of human suffering. Yet this Omnimax movie gingerly avoids examining the ethics of intrusions—including moviemaking—on fragile environments as it parallels the journeys of a Peruvian shaman and an American ethnobotanist (the Smithsonian's Mark Plotkin, also a production consultant) who travel deep into the rain forest to fulfill personal and scientific goals. The movie contains as much semidramatic as documentary footage: the Zoe, indigenous people who've had very little contact with other populations, are shown in smoothly executed scenes that give every indication of having required their collaboration. More spontaneous are shots of rare species such as pink dolphins, whose casual, sinuous swimming makes most human movement seem grossly inelegant. Directed by Kieth Merrill. 40 min.

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