This Brazilian movie – entirely set in Amazon city of Manaus and its surrounding native indigenous villages – is a touching tale of a quickly vanishing culture and the predicament of of those caught in these turbulent changes.
Anderson (Anderson Tikuna) was born in an indigenous tribe, and he has experienced painful passing-of-age rites firsthand. He also has a job in a factory in Manaus. He speaks Portuguese at work and socially, and his native indigenous language at home. Most importantly, he has to reconcile his native beliefs, values and morals with the culture of the “white man” that is slowly but incisively creeping into the villages.
Cultural syncretism is the central subject of the film. It often appears in awkward situations: a rock band of indigenous people, Anderson singing and dancing Beyoncé’s ‘I’m a Single Lady’ in front of the mirror and even a karaoke in the native indigenous languages (Tikuna, Sateré Mawé and Neenguetu). The soundtrack of the film also includes songs by European electronic bands The Knife and Kraftwerk. At times, it feels like “white” culture is strangely harmonious with the indigenous lifestyle.
Homosexuality is also a central theme in the movie, with Anderson having trysts with both men and women. Gay cinema is growing fast in Brazil, recently dealing with subjects like immigration (in Futuro Beach by Karim Ainouz, 2015), blindness (in The Way he Looks by Daniel Ribeiro) and gay marriage (in Here Come the Brides by Fábia Fuseti, 2016). It is refreshing and reassuring that even filmmakers from the remote Amazon are now embracing the subject.Director Sérgio Andrade explained to DMovies that homosexuality is not such a taboo amongst indigenous people, and that people in Anderson Tikuna’s tribe would were well aware of gay activity.
The photography of Time was Endless is colourful and vibrant, revealing indigenous rites, the Amazon forest and the little known corners of Manaus to a broader audience. The camera work is mostly static, allowing the environment and the actors to slowly hypnotise and envelop the viewers. The actors, like director Sérgio Andrade, are mostly local and the indigenous languages are used profusely throughout the movie. The downside of the movie is that the acting is at time laborious, and it is therefore difficult to engage with some characters.
Time Was Endless was is part of the Panorama Section of the 66th Berlin Film Festival. DMovies is live right now at the event, which ends on Sunday.