Watching the first few minutes of the latest trailer for the Brazil-set film Sequestrada, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a documentary. “Before my father,” an indigenous woman says as we see an Amazon landscape that looks untouched, “there were only 56 Arara.” Flashing before us are images of the day-to-day life of the Arara today: kids playing with a small boar, two young girls hacking away at a coconut, a couple rowing away on a canoe. But that life is about to change: they’re all slowly being displaced. The reason for such resettlement soon becomes clear: a dam is about to built in the area, which means that families who have lived in the Amazon basin for generations are now being treated as interlopers.
Directed by climate-change expert and producer Sabrina McCormick, and codirected by Korean filmmaker Soopum Sohn, Sequestrada focuses on three separate but interconnected stories. One follows a young Arara girl called Kamodjara (Kamodjara Xipaia) intent on protesting the dam who gets kidnapped by traffickers. Another follows Roberto (Marcelo Olinto), an indigenous agency bureaucrat overseeing a report that could change everything, and who finds himself under pressure to support the dam’s construction. The last follows Thomas (Tim Blake Nelson), an American investor in the dam who makes his way to Brazil to sway Roberto’s opinion.
Shot on location in Brazil, based on the real-life events behind the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, and featuring a number of nonprofessional actors, Sequestrada is an ecological thriller that wants to do more than tell a story. It wants to energize its viewers to realize the way fights for climate change, for indigenous rights, and for women’s rights aren’t mutually exclusive fights but deeply intertwined issues that ripple from the Amazon out onto the entire world. Check out the full trailer below.
Sequestrada will be available on digital platforms on December 17, 2019.