Film: 3236

Places + Locations | 1950 | Sound | Colour


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The Amazon
Documentary about the Amazon and the people who live by it, from beginning to Belem, narrated.

White clouds in the sky. View of the Amazon and various tributaries. Drains an area as large as Europe and the largest jungle in the world. View of trees. Swamplands. Reflection of trees on water. Parrot red and green. Large fish or eel eating leaves of water plants. Lots of flowers, large, red. Long thin trees. Map of the Amazon. Diagram showing damp winds from east to west over Amazon, January to July. 2000 miles wide by 800 miles high. Over 200 tributaries. Amazon covers Brazil, B. Guiana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Source is thought to be 12,000 feet up in the Andes mountains of Peru, less than 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Waterfalls, river boats, canoes. View of wide area of Amazon. Trees washed over by high water. Upper reaches of Amazon has settlements of primitive Indians huts. People walking around with no clothes on. Indians live in family groups. Father, mother an child. Chief's oldest daughter works in the manioc patch. Woman pulls tree from the ground and manioc roots appear. Manioc is used as food by Indians.

Whole village prepares manioc. Reeds and wood fibers are used to make baskets. Man wearing hat made of reed. Thread from palm or bamboo fibers are spun as woolen or cotton thread by a woman. Men prepare hunting equipment. Men making spears, decorating spears with feathers. Older hunters teach boys how to use weapons.

Indian aims and throws spear at large rodent (capaiba) and kills it. Parrot. Black bird with thick white beak, big black eye. Porcupine climbing up a tree. Spotted jaguar or maracaja. Silk haired mud monkey on a tree. Sloth on a tree. Ant-eater. As hunters approach village, they put the game in one spot, one on top of the other. Whole tribe gathers for a dance in a circle. Women wear wrap-around skirts. Woman watching, is carrying child on her hip. Women and small children watch. Water buffalo. Where the banks are high and protected from floods, villages spring up. Santo Antonio de Ica. Women wearing white dresses on bank. Five men with trousers and shirts, live in a village. Man carries a big ball of rubber he has collected and brings it to the village to exchange for merchandise. Portuguese colonial architecture.

Most villages are reached only by water since there are few roads. Man arrives to the garden meets son who is using a hoe. Man approaches wooden house, meets wife and daughter. Grandmother mixes manioc flour with palm oil to make torradas. Machine used to remove poisonous liquid from manioc pulp.

Boy climbs up a palm tree. Two women crush with their hands nuts into an oily paste, adding hot water. Cousin Pedro lives nearby in a house on wooden stools, one floor. Everyday makes the rounds of the rubber trees. Walking into the forest. Wife and children stay at home in their wooden house. Wife and daughter in fashionable dresses. Women and children rarely go in to the jungle. Cousin Pedro carries a long rifle and wears a hat. Cousin Pedro makes incision in the bark with a metal knife for the rubber to flow. Most trees belong to the trading post and farmers share in the revenue. Rubber flows from tree to cup.

Cousin Pedro and son sit to eat at a wooden table and wife serves them. Bird pecks at their food.

Cousin Pedro heats a very large steel bowl, supported by wooden sticks. Rubber is poured slowly over a hand-rotated paddle over the steel bowl. Rubber attached to paddle and the ball gets bigger and bigger and becomes a milky rubber sap called latex. Each family brands the rubber ball with its initial. Cousin Pedro leaves home with ball of rubber and takes it to the exchange post to exchange it for goods for his family, on foot. Exchange post with sign "Casa do Povo" (house of the people). Cousin Pedro places ball of gum on a scale. Trader takes the rubber and credits the farmer's account. Inside trading post, rolls of fabrics line the walls. Leopard skin. Men carrying rubber balls load these on to the boat. Turtle on the shore. Fishermen hunt for eggs on the sandy shore. Turtle eggs are prized as they are a great delicacy. Men dig for turtle eggs. Fully grown turtles, prized for their steaks, are put on river boats and sent to the larger markets. Turtle is cooked in its shell. Women pour manioc flour over the cooked turtle. Leaves of plantains wrapped around the meat and fish.

Fisherman on the canoe throws net into water. Large meaty fish caught. Canoe with lots of fish in it. Fish is opened up and spread out and set to dry. Is significant food supply of the Amazon.

On Sundays, families travel to the port town of Porto Alfonso. Family wearing Sunday best. Church. After church there is dancing. Lots of people, white and black dancing. River boats. As the river passes the mid point, the size of settlements increases. Bank with wooden supports to hold up bank. Portuguese colonial housing.

In the center of the Amazon is Manaus, with over 100,000 wooden buildings. Riverboats with tourists. Man serves another man coffee in a small cup. Large boats. Melons, bundles of jute for mattresses and burlap, rubber, bananas. Market. Bus. Street scenes of Manaus. Portuguese colonial buildings. Manaus was the rubber capital of the world. Theatre. Boat houses of fishermen. Ocean going ships. As Amazon approaches ocean, the river widens and approaches a delta. Red cattle ranches. Cattle are taken to larger farms. Industrial settlements increase. Mining towns. Oil refineries. Rubber research centers. River reaches port of Belem. Busy port. Lots of fishing boats. Large cargo ships loading jute. Crates of manufactured goods come to the Amazon valley. Brazil nuts loaded for export. Two men with shovels put nuts into a metal container. Large cubes of ice are taken on board for people living up-river. Buses, buildings. 230,000 people. Overview of the city with colonial architecture.

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