Pachamama - Unsere Erde (1995) - full transcript

Pachamama - Our Land

Quito, capital of the Andean
state of Ecuador.

2850 meters high.

Until the Spanish conquest, it
was the northern stronghold

of the Inca kingdom of Tahuantinsuyu.

The street leading to the old centre.

It's Sunday.

Rich people don't live here...
they say the area is unsafe.

The poor live in the
neighbourhoods on the outskirts...

Every week
they head for the centre,

to look for work
for a few hours or days,

to sell knick-knacks... to survive.

The bell tower of the
church of San Francisco.

It is built over the ruins of a
temple dedicated to the Sun.

Here they hold Masses every
Sunday, one after the other.

The faithful come and go.

The beggars and the sellers of
newspapers and souvenirs stay.

During construction work in
the San Francisco square,

they found remains of a culture
much older than the Tahuantinsuyu.

Next to the church is
the Franciscan convent.

The church and the convent were
built in the 15th century,

with the help of indigenous
workers and craftsmen.

In the cloister, the gravestones
of the conquistadors.

They brought death
through sickness,

forced labour, extermination.

Here, in the convent courtyard

there is a statue of Saint Catalina,
shipped from Spain in 1640.

When the indigenous craftsmen
decorated the interior ceilings

they also placed symbols of
the own forbidden religion,

images of the sun, the highest
god of the ancient cultures.

Also fruits from the country.

Fruits also as decoration between
the frescoes of the martyrs.

"Mestizaje" is the name
of the indigenous works

that embellished the walls and
ceilings of the Franciscans.

The monks Christianized the
indigenous people and opened schools

whose students went on to become
the chiefs of the communities.

The Catholic church
of Ecuador is divided.

One side is mostly concerned
with the poor peasants,

with the unemployed in the
deprived neighbourhoods,

with the indigenous people.

A representative of this
Liberation theology

was the bishop of Riobamba,
Leonidas Proaño.

Just before his death,
the Bishop Proaño said:

"I'm aware that the Church is
the only entity responsible

for the heavy burden that the natives
had to carry for all these centuries.

What suffering! What suffering!"

On Simon Bolívar street in
the old centre of Quito.

It's a street with shops
for ordinary people.

Corn was cultivated in this area
five to six thousand years ago,

first along the coast and
later in the mountains.

In the northern marketplace of Quito
fruit from the tropical regions is sold.

Murals in the refectory of the
Conceptas convent in Cuenca.

"Mestizaje", from 1801.

Indigenous music for the
Fiesta de San Juan.

"El sanjuanito".

Arturo Aguirre - rondandor.

Bolívar Rivera - guitar.

Carlos Canto - requinto.

The Amazonas Avenue the commercial
street for those with power.

Most of Quito's
countless banks are here.

North American capital
is well represented

and the national bank capital
is in the hands of a few.

In the 70's the banks
multiplied like shantytowns

when the oil export
from the Amazon began

at the cost of the forests

and their indigenous inhabitants.

Ecuador's foreign debt is gigantic.

The revenue from oil exports

and from the licenses
for its exploitation

dissolve as debt interests are paid.

Almost half of all revenue
comes from oil export.

Then come bananas,
shrimps, coffee,

metallurgical products, fishing,

cocoa, textiles, wood
and chemical products.

Quito, the city
and the mountains,

painted by Oswaldo
Guayasamín in 1942.

"The Workers"

"The Quarry"

"Dead Children"

Guayasamín has painted
Quito again and again...

The crater lake
of the Cuicocha volcano,

some 120 km
north of the capital,

now declared a national park.

Here we can find plants almost
extinct in other places.

The "violeta del campo".

The "romerillo" used for medical tea.

Imbabura - sacred mountains
and la fertile land.

It is the territory of the Otavaleños.

A soccer match between the communities
living around the Cotacachi mountain.

A First Holy Communion celebration.

This ranch at the foot of the
Cotacachi was expropriated and handed

to the community of Tunibamba,
in line with the land reform law

which is rarely enforced.

The peasants fought for years
to achieve this expropriation.

People died.

Two civil servants from the
peasant organization were killed.

the culprits have never been punished.

The owner didn't
cultivate the lands.

So he lost his
right to the property.

He could have sold it to the peasants,

but he refused to do so...

even though he owned
three other ranches.

Finally, a court decided to give this
ranch to the indigenous community.

The price was high and they will have
to pay off the mortgage for many years.

On the other hand, the banks
won't grant credits for seeds.

Still, the lands are being cultivated.

Meanwhile, the owner died of old age.

The peasants of Cotacachi
meet in an assembly.

All the communities have
sent their representatives.

They must debate the access to water
and enlarging the irrigation channels.

The head of the organisation, Pedro
de la Cruz, speaks in Quechua,

the old language of the Incas.

A "minga", voluntary work
carried out by the community.

This time the idea is to make use of a
stream flowing down from the mountain.

They must filter the water and
install a 13 km-long pipeline,

in order to channel the
water down into the valley

where 10 communities live.

They all participate in the works.

This is the trench where
the pipes will be placed.

The work is done in turns: each
community works a week per month.

This leaves them only three
weeks for farming tasks.

The peasants leave their homes at
five in the morning, arrive at nine,

work all day and return home
already deep into the night.

The Swiss organisation that
helps to develop the project

has funded the materials, tools
and their transportation.

But the workers of the Minga
cannot count on transportation.

They are forced to walk.

The peasant artist
José Joaquín Guandinango

plays traditional indigenous music.

His son is keeping the rhythm.

An anthropomorphous vase: Panzaleo
culture, 300 years B.C. until 800 A.D.

'El Sapo', perhaps birth labour pains,

Negativo culture from Carchi,
year 800 to 1500.

'Assisting Birth',
La Tolita culture,

between 300 B.C. and 800 A.D.

Birth "feet first",
Jama Coaque culture,

from 300 B.C. till 800 A.D.

Wind instruments:

Ocarina shaped like a woman,
Jama Coaque culture.

Chorrera culture, from 1200 to 300 B.C.

Flagons shaped like fruits...

and shaped like animals.

Chorrera culture.

The province of Mejía, South of Quito,
the Corazón mountain.

Harvesting potatoes at 3'300 meters high

The owner has leased out his land...

Its tenant prefers to hire women
and young girls for the harvest.

Watch out,
the little donkey is coming!

- How much do you get for your work?
- They pay a thousand per quintal.

- In what time?
- Whatever I can make...

At the moment I have seven bags,
and with this one eight,

I might go up to ten.

7'000 for one day.

Do you get a part of the potatoes?

I don't know,
in the 2nd week, they said.

We will see. It's my first day.

In the lava of the Cotopaxi volcano
the "Margarita de las alturas".

The summit of
the Cotopaxi - 5'897 m high.

And 100 kilometres south,
the Chimborazo.

At 6'310 m, the highest peak on Ecuador.

- What's your name?
- María.

Is it a boy? Or a girl?

A boy. His name is Kléber Mauricio.

- How old is he? One year old?
- Yes.

Here, in the high plateau
of Cañar and Azuay,

They emigrated to North America,

or went to look for jobs on the coast.

The women remained alone
with their children

and had to find ways to survive.

María Tránsito Morocho is a ceramic
artist in the community of Jatumpamba.

Her daughter helps mixing the
clay, the sand and the water.

Add a bit more water.

To shape the vase by beating, the
'golpeado' technique is used,

a method already used by the
Cañari culture, here in the south

before the Incas.

The vase has to be dried
for some days,

and then placed upside down.

Is there enough wood for the burning?

No, you have to get it from
high up in the mountains.

It is a lot of work to walk so far.

The eroded lands of the high plateau.

The eucalyptus, first planted here over
a century ago, impoverishes the land.

The poison of its leaves stops
the growth of other plants,

that could retain rainwater.

In spring 1993
it rained torrents

and the Tamuga mountain collapsed.

With its woods devastated,
hollowed out by rain,

and destabilised by uncontrolled
explosions in a quarry,

the Tamuga gave way.

Fifty thousand tons of rocks,
stones, sand and clay crumbled

and blocked the rivers
Jadán, Paute and Cuenca.

Some hundred people lost their lives.

The water rose, submerging houses,
factories, bridges and pathways.

After a month, the giant dike collapsed.

The mass of water, stones and mud

rushed at a speed of around
9000 cubic meters per second

down the Paute valley destroying
everything in its path.

"Listen, the Taita is coming" The
Taita Carnival is coming to see you!

You will stay at your neighbour's
house and he will stay in yours!"

"When the Carnival comes,
I'll come along the Taita!"

"Please help yourself, have some
guinea pig and drink some chicha!"

The group "Cañar Manta" keeps the
Taita Carnival tradition alive.

They are peasants living in
the community of Quilloac.

One of them is an expert
in the Quechua language.

The Taita Carnival is the
big indigenous celebration:

for a few days,
all live happily together,

and forget about life's brevity and
the ordeals of daily existence.

The myth says that the Taita
comes from a faraway land,

accompanied by the Yarcay.

As they go along, the hills open up
letting them into the subterranean cities

where they keep the
treasures of the ancestors.

Sometimes the Taita takes some
gold to offer it to a peasant.

The gold can never
be sold to a "mestizo".

And the Taita must be given food and
drink so that the summer crop is good.

Whoever refuses
will be a victim of Yarcay,

who brings hunger and the evil eye.

"I have it or I don't"... is
the name of this joyous song

that nevertheless speaks about
the poverty they all know.

Away from the asphalt roads and
way further into the hills

we find the remains of the Camino del
Inca that linked Cuzco and Quito.

The path runs at the
height of the clouds,

close to the ruins of
an old Inca fortress.

A piece of the
"Paredones" fortress.

Some have dug here looking
for gold jewellery.

The land of the Andes is carried
by the rivers down to the sea.

Banana plantations not far
from the Pacific Ocean.

On these shores they found
remains of the Valdivia culture,

six thousand years old.

Before, they went out in boats
to fish in the open sea.

Today, they come and
go between the waves

and fish for shrimp larvae.

Fishing companies buy the
larvae at a low price

and place them in
nurseries in large tanks.

The grown shrimps are
exported to the United States

for great profit.

The high tide brings the larvae caught
in the finely meshed fishing nets.

But some days there are no larvae and
the fishermen remain empty handed.

For a day's work they make five, six...
up to ten thousand sucres,

a maximum of four dollars.

This is a small figure we
call the 'Venus de Valdivia'.

It belongs to the first
culture of Ecuador,

the first organised
sedentary people

that made this female representation,
probably part of a fertility cult.

This is a girl not yet grown up.
It's a girl without arms,

but the most important
feature is the hairstyle.

Half of it is long, the
other half cut short.

This probably represents
an adolescent girl.

As we can see this is an adult
Venus, we can tell by the shape,

she has a kind of head-gear,
her arms close to the body,

and the features, especially of
the face are made with incisions.

The representation of fertility
is easier to see in this Venus,

this small figure, this
woman with very long hair,

is a grown up woman, but most of
all we can see her pregnant belly.

This is a type of Venus
worn as a pendant by women

to become more fertile.

Here in the Agua Blanca
community close to the coast

remains of the Machalilla culture were
found dating back to 3'500 years B.C.

and from another later
culture, the Manteño.

Several weeks of torrential rain
enlarged the channel in the ground

uncovering a graveyard.

In the graves they found
squatting skeletons

which the archaeologists
took away to study.

Only one urn was left untouched.

This is a piece from
the Chorrea culture,

a people that used to live
here on the coast, the hills

in the East of Ecuador
1500 years B.C.

It's a whistling bottle
for carrying water

and with the movement of
the person carrying it,

it sounds like the
depicted animal.

Inside the bottle we find
two resonance spaces,

that allow the air and the water to
pass through, creating the sound.

- And how does it sound?
- It sounds something like this...

This is a giant
statue depicting a cat.

It belongs to the
La Tolita culture.

This people and culture
was deeply theocratic.

The animals they depicted
were very important,

such as the cat, the snake, the
jaguar, the alligator, the eagle...

It's made of ceramics and by its
colour can tell it is made locally.

It was probably used
in their temples.

We can still find ceramic
objects from that culture

on the shores of
Esmeraldas Province,

mostly on La Tolita island.

The Santigao river floods
uncover the remains of vases

and small figures.

Antonio Alarcon, an islander,

worked for some years for
a team of archaeologists

in a project funded
by the Central Bank.

Today there are no more funds for
scientific research on this island,

and Antonio has become guard
hired by the community.

Here is the difference.

We are between the early,
classical and early periods.

What you see here is from 590 B.C.
to 195 A.D.,

so between two and three
thousand years ago.

- The classical period?
- Yes.

- A lot of things?
- Yes.

- Who works here?
- People in the community.

- Can you show me other things?
- Yes.

These are two pregnant women, from the
early and late periods, I believe.

A man's arm, classical period

and early period, a miniature.

All these figures belong
to the La Tolita culture.

Luis Oquendo is restoring
this head adornment

as commissioned by
the Central Bank.

It's a thin sheet
worthy of attention.

Today it's difficult to
achieve such thinness

and you can see on both sides
how perfect the work is,

the excellent quantity and
the quality of the gold.

As the gold was the sweat of
the sun, it was only used

by the great monarchs, priests and the
nobility in charge of the country.

In the Chota valley, the
Jesuits from the colony

had African slaves
cultivating sugar cane.

The descendants of those slaves now
live in San Miguel de Chalguayacu.

They have their own music, a
combination of African elements

with influences from the indigenous
and the European cultures.

Some instruments are
made of pumpkins

others from simple
orange tree leaves.

The jungle in the East covers half of
Ecuador and is part of the Amazon Basin.

Here a quarter of all the plants
and trees found on Earth grow,

a third of all bird
species live here.

In the rivers we find
as many species of fish...

as in all the oceans
put together.

And we can also find oil... with
thirty companies exploiting it.

They cut the trees, build asphalt
roads, poison the waters

and threaten the basis of life
of the indigenous people.

Manioc is the essential
food of the jungle.

Plantain cooked until
they get soft.

A pre-Colombian urn from
a "jungle princess".

Way above the tree tops
the Sangay volcano,

always active.

This melody is played
when a child dies.

In the house, from the moment

his parents dress him
up in his best clothes

up until the moment
they bury him.

Written, Directed, Edited by
Peter Nestler