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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Xingu

Bored with their relatively easy lives, three brothers disguise themselves as peons (Brazilian slang for poor laborers) and join a 1940s government operation to map and explore the uncharted wilderness of the rain forest. What starts as a lark soon turns into a cause as the brothers meet, then become friends with the natives who, if the government has their way, will soon be relocated and indoctrinated into becoming ‘civilized.’ Directed by Cao Hamburger (The Year My Parents Went on Vacation) the film manages to avoid the usual pitfalls of cause movies like this by giving us three lead characters well developed enough to stand on their own. He also gives the natives of the story plenty of their own camera time to be more than figureheads for the brothers to fight for. The film falters a bit when it doesn’t call the brothers out on their not so humane behavior -- one brother is exiled for sleeping with a native girl, and 20 minutes later the brother who kicked him out is doing the same thing with no consequences – but such inconsistencies can be forgiven for a film that has its heart in the right place like this one does.

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