Birdwatchers | Chicago Reader

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Drama
In the opening sequence of this Brazilian social-realist drama, tourists taking a boat trip through the jungle are unnerved by sullen, body-painted Indians who appear on the riverbank. But like the Native Americans in Buffalo Bill's old Wild West shows, these indigenous tribesmen are paid to serve as shadows of their once-mighty ancestors. Crowded onto a reservation, their numbers dwindling, the natives fall victim to alcoholism and suicide, but their leader launches a campaign to take back their ancestral land, now occupied by wealthy farmers. The ensuing power struggle is handled in earnest, didactic fashion by director Marcho Bechis; the only fresh element in this 2008 release is the character of a nerdy young shaman with a foot in each camp. In Portuguese and Guarani with subtitles. 104 min.

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