After an afternoon swimming with pink dolphins in the cola-coloured waters of the Amazon, spending the evening in a movie theatre may not seem all that thrilling. Unless you're "in the business" or a serious film nut, jetting to another continent to watch films is counterintuitive. Surely that's why airlines have all those kilometre-killing movies on board. Why travel to sit in the dark?
But it's something else to follow your day in the Amazon by watching John Boorman's classic The Emerald Forest, shot in the rain forest here, under the stars among the Amazonian landscape. The fragility of the jungle is tangible.
The Brazilian state of Amazonas hosted its own outdoor film festival this month in an attempt to draw tourists and deepen their experience. It's an idea that has taken off around the globe, with a number of resort areas mounting festivals during the shoulder seasons.
Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, is not a beautiful city. But its location at the edge of the deep Amazon makes it your only gateway to the jungle. And it contains a truly remarkable and grandiose building: the Renaissance-style Teatro Amazonas, a 19th-century opera house constructed when the city was fabulously enriched as the centre of the global rubber trade. This jewel box is the focal point of the Amazonas Film Festival, an outdoor movie event designed by Public SystГЁme CinГ©ma to bring celebrity rainmakers to the rain forest - like Emerald Forest director John Boorman, who presided over the jury last year.
This year's jury president is British director Alan Parker, joined by Canada's own Neve Campbell as well as Parker Posey. Next year will certainly bring similar wattage. All films are shown with Portuguese and English subtitles.
November 2009. Admission is free; tickets are first come, first served. For more information, visit http://www.amazonasfilmfestival.com.
Excerpt from Cinema in Paradise by Denis Seguin. Read full article at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081119.wfests19/BNStory/specialTravel/home