A poetic journey alongside four women, River Silence is witness to the human and environmental cost of a large-scale development in Brazil’s Amazon basin. The Belo Monte hydroelectric dam is but one of many scheduled to be built in Brazil—and the characters we meet represent thousands of similarly displaced women, men and children.
We follow Francinette as she lovingly raises her children and grandchildren, moving to a new house in Altamira as compensation for the destruction of the modest home she had lived in for 18 years. Her resilient spirit and new surroundings are little comfort, however, when faced with her daughter’s unplanned pregnancy and ongoing substance abuse. Tamakwera, of the Parakanã nation, is also a new resident of Altamira, forced to move when life along the Xingu River became unsustainable. We see this Indigenous mother of four girls struggle to adapt to city life as she attempts to preserve her culture, language, and rituals.
Lyrical river scenes inspired by magical realism are interspersed with the bleak realities of life in an unfinished housing development. One of the residents, Karliane, becomes an informal housing advocate when the government begins threatening to kick the families out. A proud mother of four, she wants a better, more stable life for her children. Raimunda’s situation is similarly dire, but tinged with hope. Part of a fishing family who’ve lost their livelihood, she starts from scratch in her 60s, building a new home with walls painted a vibrant blue to remind her of the strength of the Xingu River.
Returning to his childhood and mythical home, director Rogerio Soares demonstrates the incredible resilience of these women in the face of oppression. Parallels can be drawn to any situation where the exploitation of natural resources and disregard for human needs persists in the pursuit of economic development. A modern-day David vs. Goliath story, River Silence is a stark reminder of the powerful instinct for human connection and survival, even when defeat would seem the inevitable outcome.
AN EYESTEELFILM PRODUCTION
IN CO-PRODUCTION WITH THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ROGÉRIO SOARES
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY GLAUCO BERMUDEZ, ALDO OVIEDO TEJO
EDITOR RYAN MULLINS
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY NICOLE LIZÉE
SOUND DESIGN CATHERINE VAN DER DONCKT, BENOIT DAME, JÉRÉMIE JONES
ON-LINE EDITOR SERGE VERREAULT
RE-RECORDING MIXER ISABELLE LUSSIER
LOCATION SOUND CATHERINE VAN DER DONCKT, VICTOR ARTURO JARAMILLO QUEVEDO
ASSISTANT EDITOR RAFAEL FAVERO
LINE PRODUCER VALERIE SHAMASH
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER KATIE McKAY
FIELD PRODUCER IN BRAZIL PATRICIA LIO
PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE LINDA FONG (TVO)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS DANIEL CROSS, MILA AUNG-THWIN, ANNETTE CLARKE, JANE JANKOVIC (TVO)
PRODUCED BY BOB MOORE, ANNETTE CLARKE