Three years with very little travelling. What better way to end this hiatus than to take a trip to the Amazon. Our guide will be non-binary Emerson, or his alter-ego Uyra, an environmentalist and performance artist. Uyra: The Rising Forest is his gorgeous documentary beckoning us to consider some important questions for our times. How have we abused the great Amazon forest in our desire for wealth? How have we marginalized our LGBTQIA communities in our quest for non-thinking comfort. How can we fight back?
Director Juliana Curi’s camera follows Uyra for on this hour-long lesson on the power of resistance. What better way to fight back that to enlist the energy of the Amazon’s young people. They will be the ones to inherit the world that we leave them. Let’s let them lead. Performance art. Body painting. Hiking and boating are the tools that Uyra employs to spark these teens to speak out and become aware.
The movie is visually stunning. Whether we are looking at the brutalization of buzzed down trees, or the magic of the Amazon’s forests, the vistas are mesmerizing. The young people paint and decorate themselves, preparing them not only to echo the beauty of nature, but also to brace them for the hard war ahead. Rising from the water or the mud, sometimes we are not sure whether we’re viewing people or exotic fauna and fowl. The conclusion is that we are all an important piece and we need all of us to work together so that we can thrive. When we misuse any part of nature or any member of the human race, they are not the only ones lessened. We wound and diminish ourselves as well.
This eye-opening film is a thing of beauty. Seeing it might open anyone’s heart to embrace a larger view of our world and its diverse people and places.
Uyra: The Rising Forest is now playing at the Human Rights Watch Film Fest ’23. For more information, click here.