WORK IN PRE-PRODUCTION
Occasionally projects happen overnight, but most of the time the stress is on the “Pre”.
We expect to see the following go into production soon:
Directed by Michael Havas
Produced by Jens Terrahe
Language Consultant: David Crystal
Featuring: Ailton Krenak and Laurita Maria Felix
Co-Production partners: T & G Films Ltd, Berlin
Format: One Hour TV documentary
“Brazilian Dream” tells the story of a tiny Brazilian tribe and their struggle to save their language. On the banks of the Rio Doce in Brazil 70 members of the Krenak people survive as the last, fluent masters of their own tongue. Once feared as cannibals and masters of the blow-pipe, they now hover on the brink of extermination as a cultural identity. No one else in the world can converse with them in their language and understand them when they say: “I miss my language so much.” or “When I go, my language will go with me.”
As they watch the sun sink into the river of their ancestors some of them reminisce upon a modern-age political battle waged by Ailton Krenak, the first of their nation to become a Member of the Brazilian Parliament. It was partly thanks to Ailton´s charismatic struggle that the Krenaks were able to leave the artificiality of a Sao Paolo reservation and return to the very spot where in 1914 a miracle in the history of anthropology occurred.
On the eve of World War I a 25 year old Russian, Henrikh Henrikhovich Maniser, set out on an expedition to South America and devoted 7 months of his short life (he died of typhoid in the trenches of World War I) to what is today becoming recognised as the first modern scientific anthropological study of a so-called primitive people anywhere on Earth.
Maniser, who owed his methods as an anthropologist to a colony of St Petersburg intellectuals banished to Siberia for 10 years as revolutionaries by the Tsarist police, returned to Russia with a Krenak grammar, a vocabulary of the Krenak language and a diary full of musical annotations of Krenak folk songs.
In his cabin luggage he also transported the skeleton of the brother of the Krenak chief Muin who had befriended him during his stay. Muin was so impressed by Maniser´s interest in his people’s culture that he entrusted the Russian with his brother’s skeleton, saying that his (deceased) brother would no doubt receive better treatment in Russia than in Brazil.
Communism was to cast an iron veil of secrecy over this unique treasure but in the wake of the Soviet Empire recent developments have opened the door to many archives. Part of Brazilian Dream will cover the return of copies of Maniser´s manuscripts to the Krenak people.
By alternating historical reconstructions with powerful documentary footage, our film will portray the obsessions of several remarkable personalities: Maniser, whose labour of love was cut short by the great European War; Ailton, with his feet planted in both worlds, and Ailton´s proud mother-in-law, Laurita Maria Felix who is one of the last speakers of their common heritage. The drama of this struggle for survival will be seen through the eyes of an outstanding linguist.
Laurita is one of the last fluent speakers of Krenak. She is the tribe’s grey eminence.
Will Ailton´s son, Kremba, provide the Krenak language with a living heritage, with a future, or is another world language doomed to extinction?
Will the return of the Maniser´s manuscripts kick-start a last-minute resuscitation?
History has offered us a unique opportunity to trace the destiny of one people’s language as it is carried from one end of the world to the other, then back again.