Mentawai – Souls of the Forest

International competition – Saturday, June 1, 2024 – 1pm – Cinéma Les Arcades

mentawai poster

Mentawai – Souls of the Forest

Joo Peter – 74 min – Indonesia – 2023

Connect with your heart and senses: see, smell, touch, feel life in the jungle. The compassionate, cinematic camera conveys an intimate, sensual experience of indigenous life on the Mentawai Islands, with all its beauty and vulnerability.
Three shamans are the film’s main characters, hunter-gatherers in a culture that predates the traditions of weaving and pottery, archaic traditions that have their own complexity. The film depicts the daily life of the indigenous tribe, their spiritual cosmos and their commitment to preserving their own culture and natural habitat. Logging companies threaten the islands’ fragile ecosystem.
Rare historical footage and archival documents recount decades of oppression of indigenous culture, but also the resilience of our main characters and the last remaining tribes living in the jungle. The main character, Father Laulau, has been a leader in this struggle for decades, meeting the governor of Sumatra at a key moment in history.

The 6 films in the International Competition