Birdwatchers \nAmbrosio Vilhava, Abrisio da Silva Pedro, Leonardo Medeiros \nDirector: Marco Bechis The title of Marco Bechis' fourth feature film refers not to the Guarani-Kaiowa - who are the film's central protagonists - but the cultural tourists seeking to spot some 'noble savages' in the flesh. And that's what they get, as shown in Birdwatchers' opening sequence, when a boatful of European and American travellers glide down an Amazonian river flanked by spear-carrying men and women wearing face-paint and loincloth; as the vessel sails away, the Amerindians change back into T-shirts and jeans while collecting the money they've earned for their part in the spectacle. The scene sums up the Birdwatchers theme: the film explores how the Guarani (played by non-professional actors from the tribe) confront the economic forces that threaten to decimate both their natural habitat and their long-running cultural heritage. At the centre of the story is the conflict between the indigenous population on the one side - led by Nadio (Ambrosio Vilhava), an elder who organises a campaign to combat foreign cultivation of their ancestral lands - and ranchers on the other, their go-getting traits personified by a brutal landowner (Leonardo Medeiros). Bechis made the film with extensive assistance from the indigenous rights organisation Survival International, and his sympathy for the Guarani is obvious. To make a starry-eyed eulogy of a near-extinct culture, however, would be akin to the tides of birdwatchers arriving on the Amazonian shores - and Bechis' film is much more complex than that. It looks into the confusion and angst that also threaten to undermine the Guarani's future from within, while raising questions about how the tribe will face up to social developments in modern-day Brazil. Rather than portraying the two groups as distinct strands in society, Bechis also explores how the 'cultural otherness' - as shown in the exotic spectacle in the film's beginning - may change as a younger generation moves into view. Extras: trailer.