When Two Worlds Collide is a chilling documentary about the Amazonian indigenous tribes in Peru, and how their lives are drastically affected by encroaching corporate companies. Co-directed by Heidi Brandenburg, this documentary exposes the Peruvian government by depicting the pain and suffering of the indigenous people caused by underhanded deals with big companies. These companies are butchering the land by drilling for oil, and chopping down trees much to the dismay of the native people. The two worlds clash over the protection vs. product of the rainforest, leaving it bloodstained in the process. Eye-opening and horrific, When Two Worlds Collide exposes contemporary culture, and reminds us to stay open-minded, humble and thankful. (LMB: 4/5)
Review by FF2 Associate Lindsy M. Bissonnette
The President of Peru, Alan Garcia, passed laws that allow private companies to exploit the rainforest’s natural resources. These actions are in direct violation of Law 169, which requires the government to consult with the indigenous people before affecting the land in any way. President Garcia also violated forestry laws by allowing sections of the rainforest to be auctioned for private sale. When Two Worlds Collide examines the years surrounding these direct violations, and the devastating events that take place when the government ignores the rights of its people.
Alberto Pizango, a member of the Shawi people, serves as the president of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (IADESEP). In 2008, Pizango supported the indigenous people’s protests when corporate companies began to take control of Peru’s natural resources. The Amazonian people protested for their right to be consulted in all matters that dealt with the Amazon, since changes directly affect their livelihood. Crude oil contaminates their water, leaving the people no choice but to consume lead and other harmful elements, which, in turn, cause painful and traumatic health problems for tribal members.
When troops armed with guns and tear gas open fire on protesters, the indigenous people fight back. Protestors and policemen are killed and wounded, and when the rest of the natives find out about the horrific event, they take over the pipeline, and take hostage of all the policemen stationed there to protect it, marching them into the mountain to kill them. No government officials are ever charged, despite the constant violations against the Amazon indigenous tribes, however Mr. Pizango along with 26 others are charged for the bloodshed.
Finally, the government agreed the laws needed to be adjusted, but congress voted before all of the members had arrived, resulting in outrage. Cut together segments display Alberto with various tribes and their frustration with the government as well as President Alan Garcia speaking to all of Peru and accusing the tribes of halting the country’s potential forward progress. Director Heidi Brandenburg even takes us inside of Congress to watch actual discussions and voting sessions.
Videos taken on phones show shaky blurs of trees on fire, smoke filled skies and blood covered people in the heat of the fight as shouts and screams come from all directions when bullets rip through the sky. Director Heidi Brandenburg does a fantastic job of representing the beautiful rainforest and the peaceful indigenous people that live there, in contrast with their determination to protect their land and the outright chaos that breaks out when they are disrespected and lied to. When Two Worlds Collide is a much needed lens into the ways of the Peruvian people and the battles they have been fighting.
Top Photo: Alberto Pizango on the water.
Middle Photo: The police begins open fire on the indigenous Amazonian people.
Bottom Photo: The aftermath of the tragedy at Belua.
Photo Credits: First Run Features
Q: Does When Two Worlds Collide pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?
There are lots of fierce women in this documentary, both in the indigenous tribes and in congress, who are fighting for what they believe. There are women giving public speeches, both in the indigenous tribes and in the Peruvian government, but there are no scenes where two women actually have a conversation.