Film Archive


International Competition 2021
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Veins of the Amazon
Álvaro Sarmiento, Terje Toomistu, Diego Sarmiento
Observation of an important infrastructure in Amazonia: downstream on a cargo boat that brings passengers and goods to the isolated communities in the Peruvian rain forest.
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Veins of the Amazon

Odisea amazónica
Álvaro Sarmiento, Terje Toomistu, Diego Sarmiento
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
71 minutes

The towns and villages along the Peruvian section of the Amazon can’t be reached by road. If you can’t afford to take the plane, you travel by cargo boat on the river for days. As a means of transport, the boats are part of an important infrastructure: While the steamships of the “rubber barons” used to travel this route during the brutal rubber boom, cargo boats now bring goods to the communities on the edge of the rain forest.

The observations of the Peruvian brothers Álvaro and Diego Sarmiento and the anthropologist Terje Toomistu are focused entirely on the occurrences on the boat: loading and unloading sugar, chickens, onions, lemonade and building material, the crew, the passengers travelling hammock to hammock on deck, and the people waiting on the banks of the river. The camera never glorifies either the landscape or the work; instead it is always in the midst of things, sometimes even in the way. The journey downstream is accompanied by tales of sinking ships, swimming animals and newfound faith. Observed with such reserve, a lot can still be inferred: about the tough jobs of the dockers, the lives of the women and children who come aboard to sell food, about the influence of the “Israelitas” and how important trading by boat is for the indigenous population of the tributaries.
Marie Kloos
Rural vs. Urban
Intervening Nature
Redistribution and Having a Say

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Álvaro Sarmiento, Terje Toomistu, Diego Sarmiento
Álvaro Sarmiento, Terje Toomistu
Terje Toomistu, Diego Sarmiento
Fabricio Deza, Diego Sarmiento, Álvaro Sarmiento, Alex Cruz
Álvaro Sarmiento, Diego Sarmiento
Terje Toomistu
Cesar Centeno
World Sales
Pascale Ramonda
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize