Transcript: River Silence | Aug 11, 2020

(film projector whirring)

The animated NFB logo appears.

(jungle sounds)
Against a black screen, the EyeSteelFilm and TVO logos pop up.

Titles read "TVO presents an EyeSteelFilm production in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada."

(haunting instrumental music plays)
An aerial view of a vast jungle appears.

(birds chirping)
(canoe paddling)
(engine revving)

Two male teenagers travel in a canoe across a soft river.

A caption reads "Amazon Basin, Brazil."

One of them gets fish out of a net.

(dramatic music plays)

In off, Raimunda speaks Portuguese.

Raimunda says WHEN WE
STARTED FISHING
IN THE XINGU RIVER
FISH WEIGHED OVER 4 KILOS.
HUGE AND FAT.

A man hammers a boat and a woman hand washes clothes in a river.

Raimunda says THE XINGU IS A GENTLE RIVER.
IT HAS ITS CREATURES BUT
THEY'RE NOT AGGRESSIVE.
IT DOESN'T HAVE ANACONDAS
OR OTHER BEASTS.
THE WATERFALLS DON'T LET THEM
SWIM UPSTREAM.
THE RIVER
WAS MY TEACHER.
THEN THE END CAME
WITH THE EXPLOSIONS
IN THE RIVER.

An aerial view of a waterfall appears, followed by a huge hydroelectric plant.

The screen turns black. In red capital letters, the title of the documentary reads "River Silence."

The caption changes to "The Belo Monte Hydroelectric Complex is one of the largest infrastructure projects on the planet. Construction of the dam displaced over 40,000 people from their homes along the Xingu River. Many families were resettled or migrated to find work in Altamira, a city suffering from rising unemployment, a housing crisis, and violence. This is the story of three families."

(deep breathing)

The caption changes to "Raimunda."

Near palm trees, Raimunda kneels on the ground picking up tiles pieces. She is in her forties, with curly black hair tied-up. She wears a green sleeveless T-shirt, gray tights, glasses and a necklace.

Raimunda says THESE ARE
THE TILES FROM MY BATHROOM.
THIS WAS FROM MY LIVING ROOM.
IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE.
IT'S HEARTBREAKING,
A LOT OF SWEAT WENT INTO THIS.
IT TOOK ME EIGHT YEARS TO BUILD IT.
EACH DAY ONE NEW THING,
EACH DAY ONE TILE.
BUILT THINKING OF A FUTURE
THAT NEVER CAME.

An ad on a fence reads "3400 new family homes."

(peaceful piano plays)
(kids chattering)
(motorbike revving)

Two female teenagers bathe a baby boy in a river. Bare feet boys play football in a poor neighbourhood.

Then, two boys try to get the ball out of a dirty well with a stick.

Raimunda says YUCK.

The caption changes to "Karliane."

(crowd chattering)
People gather outside a house.

A Young Man says OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE
TODAY IS TO FIGHT FOR
THOSE AFFECTED BY BELO MONTE.
MAINLY THE IMPACT ON HOUSING.
1,440 HOUSES ARE BEING
BUILT HERE.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT
THIS OCCUPATION
IS A CONSEQUENCE
OF THE DAM.
AM I RIGHT?
WE'VE OCCUPIED
THIS HOUSING PROJECT
BECAUSE WE CAN'T AFFORD
PAYING RENT.
THE GOVERNMENT CAN SEND
THE POLICE
ON BEHALF OF THE CONTRACTORS
AND EVICT EVERYONE.
MY CONCERN HERE IS
WE LACK LEADERSHIP.

Karliane is in her twenties, with black hair tied-up- She wears a yellow sleeveless T-shirt.

Karliane washes the floor outside her house.

Karliane says WE CAME
FROM ANOTHER TOWN
WHERE UNEMPLOYMENT
WAS HIGH
LOOKING FOR WORK
AT THE DAM
TRYING TO BETTER OUR LIVES.

Inside, three boys watch TV and one does his homework. A girl rests in a hammock.

Karliane gets into the house and says UMBERTO,
HAVE YOU BOYS BATHED?
YOU THREE GO NOW.
YOU BOYS ARE PROCRASTINATING.
GO NOW OR FACE THE
CONSEQUENCES.
OH HOLY MESS!
WASH PROPERLY,
SCRUB YOUR FEET!
UNDERSTAND?

The boys wash outside using buckets as Karliane hangs up the washing.

Karliane says WOMEN ARE WIVES,
MOTHERS, NURSES,
DOCTORS, COOKS,
JANITORS, ALL IN ONE.
I WAS ABANDONED
BY MY FATHER WHEN I WAS TWO.
MY MOM GAVE ME SO
MUCH LOVE AND GENEROSITY
WHICH I NOW PASS ON TO MY KIDS.

(seagulls squawking)
The sun sets.

Near a dirt road, Tamakwera uses a toothbrush to paint the back of a man with a black moustache as three little girls sit next to them.

(vehicle approaching)
(distant electronic music plays)

A man cuts the grass with an electric saw.

The caption changes to "Tamakwera."

Now, Tamakwera sits on a pile of bricks fanning a bonfire. She is in her twenties, with long black hair. She wears a patterned shirt and dark trousers.

Tamakwera says I'M WARMING UP.
I'M FEELING COLD.
I HAVE FOUR GIRLS.
ANDUÍ, MANDUÍ,
TUTUÍ AND TUTUIA.

In off, Rogério says WITH ANOTHER ON THE WAY?

Tamakwera says YES.

Tamakwera washes her little daughter on a basin.

Tamakwera says EVERYTHING FLOODED...
AND NOW WE LIVE FAR
FROM THE RIVER.

(insects buzzing)
(motorboat noise)

Tamakwera and her family walk past cut tree trunks.

Raimunda travels in a canoe.

Raimunda says THIS IS EX-NATURE.
NATURE IS GONE.

A close-up shot shows a dead animal. Several vultures sit on a branch.

Raimunda says THE DEVIL WASN'T HERE,
HE WAS IN THE CAPITOL.
THE SLAVE WORKERS BUILT
BELO MONTE UNDER THEIR WHIP.
THEY'RE ALL THERE,
LIKE VULTURES IN BLACK SUITS AND TIES.
THE WATER IS DEAD.
THERE'S NO SMELL HERE.
NOTHING.
ALL DEAD.
DRY... CROOKED...
BROKEN...
FINISHED.

Next, Raimunda lies on a hammock.

Raimunda says IN FRONT OF ME, I SEE
MY FISHING NETS.
THEY ARE ONLY MEMORIES
OF ME AND MY HUSBAND.
EVERY SATURDAY HE CAME BACK
FROM THE RIVER AND
I TOOK CARE OF THEM.
I WOULD CLEAN AND
HANG THEM LIKE THEY ARE NOW.
JOÃO WAS LIKE A FISH.
IF HIS NETS GOT STUCK,
HE WOULD SWIM DOWN
TO RELEASE THEM.
HE WOULD SCARE US,
DISAPPEARING UNDER THE WATER.
HE HAS AN INCREDIBLE LUNG CAPACITY.
HE HAD. NOT ANYMORE.
HE'S NOT MR. JOÃO ANYMORE,
HE'S JUST JOÃO.
HE CAN NO LONGER CHANGE
A LIGHTBULB OR MOVE A TILE.
IT'S LIKE HE'S DEAD.
HE SAID BELO MONTE KILLED HIM
AND I BELIEVE IT DID.

(hammer pounding)

Karliane pours water into a small container.

Karliane says WATER IS
PRECIOUS HERE.
IT'S BECOMING SCARCE
BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T CARE.
THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T CARE
ABOUT OUR RIVERS.
IF YOU STEAL SOMETHING
TO EAT YOU GO TO JAIL.
BUT THOSE WHO DESTROYED
OUR RIVERS
POLLUTING IT
THEY ARE FREE TO LAUGH
IN OUR FACES.
THIS IS BRAZIL,
A DIFFICULT PLACE TO BE.
WE LAUGH TO FORGET THE PAIN.
ELECTIONS ARE NEAR.
POLITICIANS WILL BRAVE
THIS MUD ASKING FOR VOTES.
NOW IT'S TIME TO DEMAND
ACTION.
IF WE ONLY RELY ON
POLITICIANS WE'RE SCREWED.

(crowd chattering)

A woman yells COME BLONDIE!

Talking to a group of people, a young man says PEOPLE, LISTEN UP.
YOU RECEIVED THIS PAPER.
THIS PROPOSITION,
FOR THOSE OF YOU
FOLLOWING THE NEWS,
WILL CLOSE THE WELLS
YOU HAVE AT HOME.

Karliane says EVERYBODY NEEDS
TO GO TO THE SOCIAL
ASSISTANCE OFFICE.
IF YOU HAVEN'T SIGNED UP,
DO SO URGENTLY.

Man 1 says IT'S TOO CONFUSING!

Karliane says LOOK, I WENT THERE THREE TIMES.
I WOKE UP AT 4:30
IN ORDER TO GET IT.

The Young Man says STOP FINDING PROBLEMS!
WE HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS!
WE NEED SOLUTIONS!

Now, Karliane combs a little girl's hair.

A man wearing a red T-shirt has lunch.

He says KARLA, MORE SODA, PLEASE.

Karliane says LET ME FINISH
COMBING AMANDA'S HAIR.

Tamakwera and her family watch TV.

A Man wearing a suit on the TV says HELLO VIEWERS,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
BOYS AND GIRLS!
WELCOME TO OVERALL BALANCE.
STARTING THE SHOW WITH
LOTS OF EMOTION.
COME SWING WITH ME!
SWING! SWING!
SWING FOR REAL!
A MAN WAS KILLED IN
THE SUDAM NEIGHBOURHOOD
LAST NIGHT.
OUR TEAM WAS THERE
TO REPORT ANOTHER CASE
OF VIOLENCE IN ALTAMIRA.
SWING WITH ME ON RECORD TV.

(police siren approaching)
At night, a male teenager lies dead on the street.

A Male TV Reporter says HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS?

A woman hugs a shocked young woman.

The Young Woman says HE WAS INSIDE WHEN
WE HEARD SOMETHING.
HE THOUGHT THEY WERE STEALING
HIS BIKE AND HE GOT SHOT.
WE WERE ALL TOGETHER INSIDE.

The TV Reporter says HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU HAVE?

Sobbing, the Young Woman says WE HAVE FIVE.

The TV Reporter says WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW?

The Young Woman says I DON'T KNOW.
ONLY GOD KNOWS.

A male police officer takes an arrested man out of truck.

In off, a man says ALTAMIRA TODAY
IS A DIFFERENT CITY.
WE'VE BEEN COMPLETELY
ABANDONED.
A YEAR AFTER BELO MONTE'S
CONSTRUCTION
THE CITY BECAME OVERCROWDED.
PEOPLE CAME FROM ALL OVER BRAZIL.
YOU CAN IMAGINE A CITY THAT
SUFFERED A POPULATION BOOM
WITHOUT ANY INFRASTRUCTURE
THERE'S GOING TO BE PANIC AND FEAR.

Sitting on the floor next to children, two women sing IT WAS GOD
WHO MADE THE GRASS.
IT'S HIM WHO TAKES CARE OF THE BIRDS.
GOD DOESN'T FORGET THE FLOWERS,
THE FRUITS AND THE RABBITS.
IT WAS GOD WHO MADE THE ROOSTER,
THE HENS AND THE CHICKS,
THE OX, THE COW, THE HORSE,
AND MY BEAUTIFUL DOG.

A young woman with long brown curly hair says I WANT TO READ A VERSE
FROM THE GOSPEL OF JOHN.
She reads THIS IS ETERNAL LIFE, THAT
THEY MAY KNOW YOU,
THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND
JESUS CHRIST WHOM YOU HAVE SENT.

She says THIS IS THE MESSAGE
GOD GAVE US,
THAT OUR ETERNAL LIFE
IS IN CHRIST, IN GOD.
THE ONLY TRUE GOD.

Tamakwera paints the face of one of her daughters.

Tamakwera says COME HERE.

(mystical music plays)

An aerial view of a calm river appears.

Raimunda looks at a wall and says THIS BLUE WALL
ISN'T A COMMON BLUE.
IT'S THE COLOUR
OF POSITIVE THINKING.
THIS IS THE XINGU RIVER.
I WANT TO WAKE UP
AND SAY: THIS IS MY RIVER.
MY FRIEND
WHO I'LL NEVER FORGET.

In off, Rogério says DO YOU THINK
YOU'LL FISH AGAIN ONE DAY?

Raimunda says I DON'T THINK SO.
NO ONE DIES OF NOSTALGIA.
WE HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE
WITH THIS FEELING.

Tamakwera cuts an onion in a kitchen.

The young woman with long brown curly hair says GOOD!
ISN'T IT EASY, TAMAKWERA?
TAMAKWERA IS MY DEAR
NEIGHBOUR.
WE MET IN THIS SETTLEMENT.
IF SHE GOES BACK TO THE RESERVE
SHE CAN TEACH OTHERS
HOW TO COOK WHAT GOD GAVE US.
GOD GAVE THIS FOOD TO ADAM
AND EVE IN THE BEGINNING.
HE WANTS US TO EAT FRUITS
AND VEGETABLES.

Later, holding a bible, she sits next to Tamakwera and her family.

The young woman says HERE, IT'S THIS ONE.
She reads IN THE BEGINNING
GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS
AND THE EARTH.
NOW THE EARTH WAS
FORMLESS AND EMPTY.
GOD SAID, LET THERE BE LIGHT
IN THE VAULT OF THE SKY
TO SEPARATE DAY FROM NIGHT.
AFTER THIS, HE MADE SOMETHING
SPECIAL WITH HIS OWN HANDS.
MAN, IN HIS OWN IMAGE.

She says THIS RESEMBLANCE, RISONEI,
IS IN YOU, ME, TAMAKWERA
AND IN THE CHILDREN.
WE RESEMBLE WHO, THEN?

In his early forties with a black moustache, Risonei says GOD.

The young woman says VERY GOOD, RISONEI.
THEN, THE FLOOD CAME
TO DESTROY HUMANITY.
WHY? THE EARTH
WAS FULL OF SIN.

Risonei says I KEEP WONDERING
IF IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.

The young woman says GOD KNOWS
THE ANSWER.
THE EARTH WILL BE DESTROYED
BECAUSE OF OUR SINS.
LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY.
THEY'LL DESTROY THE ANIMALS
AND FISH FROM THE XINGU RIVER.
THEY'LL DESTROY THE JUNGLE.
ANIMALS WILL DIE AND
THE WATER WILL BE
CONTAMINATED.
AMEN? LET'S BE ON
OUR KNEES FOR GOD.

Karliane says WE ARE FEWER NOW.
LESS THAN A HUNDRED FAMILIES.
OVER TIME, LIVING HERE
GOT HARDER AND PEOPLE LEFT.
THOSE STAYING HAVE
NOWHERE TO GO.

A boy sits looking at the camera sitting on the ground. A bicycle lies nearby.

(mysterious music plays)

Karliane and her sons watch a circus show.

Another day, calling her neighbours, Karliane says COME PEOPLE!
C'MON PEOPLE! COME OVER HERE.
I'M PROPOSING THAT THOSE
OF US WITH NOWHERE TO GO,
THAT WE SHUT DOWN
THE HIGHWAY AT MIDNIGHT.
IF IT DOESN'T WORK,
WE'LL OCCUPY ANOTHER PLACE.
IT'S OUR ONLY CHOICE.
WE'RE BROKE.
ARE WE GOING TO LIVE
ON THE STREETS?
WHO AGREES
WE SHOULD MAKE A MOVE?
STANDING STILL IS NO USE.
I NEED YOUR SUPPORT.
IT'S NOT JUST KARLA PROTESTING,
IT'S ALL OF US.
LET'S FIND THINGS TO SET ON FIRE.

A man with a pink T-shirt says NOT EVEN WIND WILL PASS!

Karliane says CALL YOUR FRIENDS!
LET'S GET ORGANIZED!
PLAN OUR ACTIONS!
NO MISTAKES!
LET'S GET THE ATTENTION
OF THOSE WHO CAN HELP!

Then, talking to a boy, she says GO TO SCHOOL
AND STUDY WELL.
MOM AND DAD WILL RESOLVE THINGS.
GOD WON'T LET THIS HAPPEN.
WE'LL KEEP OUR HOME.
YOU WON'T LOSE YOUR
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL.

(rain dripping)
(dark music intensifies)

Tamakwera and her family attend a church meeting.

A Male Pastor says THE LORD MAKES
NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN PEOPLE.
HE WELCOMES EVERYONE.
WHITE, BLACK. PRAISE THE LORD.
RICH, POOR...
THE INDIGENOUS HERE
TONIGHT HAVE BEEN
TOUCHED BY GOD.
YOU CAME TONIGHT LOOKING FOR
SOLUTIONS.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING
TO FULFILL YOUR LIFE.
I OFFER YOU JESUS CHRIST.
WHO WANTS TO CHANGE
YOUR STORY?
CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
HE WANTS TO CHANGE
YOU THIS EVENING.
WHO WANTS TO BE CHANGED?
RAISE YOUR HAND
TO HEAVEN AND ADORE HIM.
HALLELUJAH!

Using a microphone, Risonei says I WANT TO SPEAK
ABOUT GOD.
"TOPOA" MEANS GOD
IN MY LANGUAGE.
"CATUETÉ" MEANS GREAT,
WONDERFUL.
FRIENDS, I WANT TO TELL YOU.
GOD'S LOVE HAS
NO EXPLANATION.
IT'S WONDERFUL EVEN
IN DIFFICULT MOMENTS.
EVEN WHEN I CAN'T FIND
THE WORDS GOD SPEAKS FOR ME.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS.
I HAVE A DREAM.
MY DREAM IS TO PREACH
THE GOSPEL IN ALL LANGUAGES.
(applause)
THESE PRINCESSES ARE THE FUTURE
OF BRAZIL AND OF THE WORLD.

Then, Risonei prays kneeling over a chair.

(thunder strikes)
(mysterious singing)

Raimunda says I'M BUILDING
A NEW HOME.
A NEW STORY.
A NEW BEGINNING.
EVERYTHING NEW.

She piles wood boards under a platform sitting on wood piling.

Talking to a dog, she says HELP ME OR GET OUT OF THE WAY.

She continues WE'LL SLEEP UPSTAIRS.
HERE I'LL RECEIVE VISITORS.
IT WILL BE COVERED IN TILE.
PLACES FOR HAMMOCKS,
A DINING ROOM.
A NEW STORY BUILT ON AN OLD ONE,
BOTH ARE PART OF ME.

Now, in the river, Raimunda flaps the water.

She says THE NOISE ATTRACTS THE FISH.
THIS IS ANCESTRAL.
FISHING WITH YOUR HANDS...
ONLY IN THE XINGU.

(dog barking)

Next, a little girl folds clothing.

Karliane says ARE YOU PACKING YOUR THINGS?

Rogério says YOU SEEM DISCOURAGED.

Karliane says I AM VERY.
PEOPLE ARE PACKING UP.
PEOPLE HERE ARE UNITED
BUT ALSO DIVIDED.

At night, men chat.

A man says THEY'RE HERE.
TIME TO PACK UP.

(police siren approaching)

The man says LOOK AT THE TROOPS.

The next day, a crowd gathers in the street.

A woman in her thirties says STOP
TALKING BULLSHIT!
WHERE ARE THEY
PUTTING US?

Then, she hugs Karliane and says IT MAKES NO SENSE
SPEAKING ANYMORE.
I'M TIRED.
GOD KNOWS WHAT TO DO.
DO YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO?

Karliane says I DON'T KNOW.
MY HUSBAND WAS SUPPOSED TO LOOK INTO IT.

The woman in her thirties says WE FOUND
A PLACE.
YOU'RE WELCOME TO STAY
WITH US.
WE'RE HERE TO HELP
EACH OTHER.
NOTHING WILL CHANGE THAT.
WE HELP EACH OTHER, OKAY?

Karliane kisses her on the forehead and says I WON'T FORGET
A FRIEND LIKE YOU.
OH LORD!

A Male Police Officer says YOU HAVE TO LOAD YOUR THINGS.

Crying, Karliane says FINE, SO DO IT.
DO YOU EXPECT ME TO TAKE INITIATIVE?
I WON'T.
DO YOUR JOB, THEN.
THAT'S IT.
DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.

Karliane says I CAN'T.

The Police Officer says WHAT'S HER NAME?

A woman says KARLA.

The Police Officer says LOOK AT ME.
HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
PUT IT IN HIS HANDS.
I KNOW YOUR HEART
IS BROKEN.
THINGS WILL GET BETTER.
TRUST IN GOD.

The rain falls over a truck packed with furniture protected with a blue cover.

Karliane yells HEY GOVERNMENT!
OUR CHILDREN WILL SLEEP
UNDER THE RAIN TONIGHT.
WHERE ARE OUR CHILDREN'S RIGHTS?
THESE HOUSES ARE MEANT
FOR THE POOR.
NOW WE ARE BEING EVICTED.
WHERE ARE THEIR RIGHTS?
RAIN AND MUD.
THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN
IN ALTAMIRA
ARE IN THE RAIN AND THE MUD!

Karliane hugs one of her sons.

(mysterious singing)

Three girls eat a lollypop as Tamakwera breastfeeds a baby in a hammock.

Rogério says YOU HAVE A NEW BABY.

Tamakwera says I DO.
A NEW GIRL... MARADUIA.
MARADUIA IS THE MOSS
THAT GROWS ON THE ROCKS.
A WOMAN ASKED TO
HAVE HER AND I SAID NO.
I SAID I WOULD KEEP HER.

Rogério says WHO ASKED?

Tamakwera says A WOMAN AT THE HOSPITAL.

Rogério says SHE ASKED FOR YOUR DAUGHTER?

Tamakwera says YES.
I SAID NO.
IT'S MY DAUGHTER
AND I'LL KEEP HER.
I NEVER LIKED IT HERE.
I MISS MY FATHER.
MY MOTHER.
I LIKE TO HUNT...
TO FISH...

Karliane says MY CHILDREN ARE MY LIFE.
THEY MEAN EVERYTHING TO ME.
EVERYTHING.

Rogério says YOU'LL MAKE IT.
IT'S WRITTEN ON YOUR STAR.

Karliane says AMEN.

Children swim and have fun in the river. A man throws a fishing net.

Raimunda says I STILL BELIEVE THE
XINGU RIVER WILL AVENGE ITSELF.
I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW.

The caption changes to "Over 1.3 million people have been displaced by development projects in Brazil since 2000. There are currently 412 dams in operation, under construction, or planned in the Amazon. 256 of those are in Brazil."

The end credits roll.

Written and Directed by Rogério Soares.

Executive Producers, Mila Aung-Thwin, Annette Clarke, Daniel Cross.

Copyright 2019.

Watch: River Silence