Wai'a, The Men's Secret (Wai'a, O Segredo Dos Homens)

Vincent Carelli

1988, 15:00 minutes, colour, Tupi with English or Portuguese voiceover


Directed by Vincent Carelli & Virginia Valadão

Among the Xavante of Mato Grosso, the Wai'a is an important stage in a male initiation ritual that happens once every fifteen years. This video documents the ceremonies that prepare young men for contact with supernatural forces.

Virginia Valadão, who died in 1999, was a video producer, with her husband, Vincent Carelli, who worked with the Video in the Villages in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This group works to bring an understanding of the power of TV technology to indigenous peoples as an empowering tool in their fight to preserve their lands and ways of life. The Video in the Villages Project is an ongoing series that grew out of the frustrating experiences the native Brazilian Waiãpi had with ethnographic film and video shoots in their villages. The project was initiated in 1985 and has had a profound effect on native image and self image, inter-tribal relations, and relations with white institutions. The project is actively involved in teaching video technology and members of several native groups participate in the production and editing of the videotapes.

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