The Tribe That Hides from Man (1970)

A Note of Caution: The indigent subjects of this movie don’t wear clothes, with the exception of those who have been “civilized,” for want of a better word. Expect to experience nudity, although it appears to be the most natural thing. Huh!

Also, they have no qualms about killing any animal that will provide meat. They do live in a jungle. If you’re uncomfortable with the death of animals you might not want to watch this movie.

The documentary is told as a narrative. Two government officials, the brothers Claudio and Orlando Villas Boas, seek out remote tribes in the Brazilian rainforest to protect them from encroaching civilization. The protection is achieved by relocating a given tribe to a reservation where other tribes now live. The ultimate goal is to gradually acclimate the indigent people to living with our civilization. Otherwise, encroachment from the outside world will ultimately destroy their civilization.

The brothers are sympathetic with the plight of the native people and are extremely patient in trying to establish contact. The tribal people are described as serene, which they are toward other members of their own tribe but they are not accepting of other tribes at all.

One tribe, the Kreen-Akrore, is particularly elusive and hostile.

The unfolding quest is fascinating and suspenseful. It could be fiction, but it isn’t. Trekking through the jungle, a mile a day, they spend two months reaching a place where they can make a landing strip for a supply plane. They tie gifts—cutlery, pots, geegaws—to limbs for the tribes people to find. The tribe leaves gifts of war clubs for the explorers, too. Such exchanges can go on for months or even years before face to face contact is made.

This movie is intelligent and compelling, and gives us a feeling for the situation of the indigent people of the rainforest.