Meeting Ancestors (A Arca Dos Zo'é (Nos Ancêtres les Zo'é)

Vincent Carelli

1993, 22:00 minutes, colour, Tupi


Directed by Vincent Carelli & Dominique Gallois

Chief Wai-Wai recounts to his village the story of the trip he and a small entourage made to meet the Zo'é, a recently contacted group whom the Waiapi "know" through video. Both tribes speak dialects of Tupi-Guarani and share many cultural traditions, but the Zo'é are currently experiencing phenomena of contact that the Waiapi experienced twenty years ago.

In his commentary on the videotape from the trip shot by Kasiripina, the cameraman of Mariry, Wai-Wai's account begins with the sensation of crossing the Tapajós River in the north of Pará by plane and the feeling of getting used to the total nudity and large, tubular lip-plugs of his hosts. During the visit, the two groups compare hunting and weaving techniques, food, rituals, myths and history. The Zo'é afford their visitors the chance to re-encounter the way of life and wisdom of their ancestors.

The Waiapi, on the other hand, bring the Zo'é information on the dangers of the white world that this isolated group is eager to understand. As well as their shared practical concerns, this tape conveys the warmth, joy, and humour that quickly develops between these people, and is the intimate portrait of a friendship between chiefs.

Wai-Wai, le chef des Indiens Waiapi raconte aux habitants de son village le voyage qu'il a entrepris pour rencontrer et filmer les Zo'é, groupe récemment contacté et connu à travers des images vidéo. Les deux groupes qui ont en commun plusieurs traditions, parlent des variantes de la langue Tupi. Pendant leur séjour, ils comparent leurs technoloies, leurs rituels et leurs mythes. Les Zo'é donnent ainsi à leurs visiteurs la chance de redécouvrir le mode de vie de leurs ancêtres. En échange, les Waiapi mettent en garde les Zo'é, en leur montrant des images vidéo, contre les dangers d'assimilation du monde des Blancs.

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