The Third Shore (2016) - full transcript

After living for thirty years in the largest Brazilian cities, Thini-á returns to his tribe. On his way home, he dives into João Kramura's past - the white boy who became a Kayapo native in Xingu hinterland.

This afternoon, I was
contemplating the emptiness.

When I noticed far in the distance

some columns of smoke.

“What is that?” I asked.

Towards the sunset, they told me,

is the Xavante tribe of
the River of the Dead.

To the south, the Kayapó tribe,

to the north, the Canoeiro tribe.

The first are those who infest
the Cuiabá road,

the second, strong and ferocious, say...

...that from the whites, all they want
is to see their blood,

the third fight without retreating,
and give no quarter to the enemy

and do not choose life when,
by happenstance, they are captured.

The melancholy of
the scene was severe.


- Good morning.
- Good morning.

The chief went to the river.
He’ll be right back.

- Bedjai?
- I’ll call the chief.

- I put your husband’s ammunition away.
- Where does this film crew come from?

- What?
- What kind of work are they doing?

They’re here to make
a documentary about your uncle.

Did João live around here?

- Did he live in this village?
- Yes, he lived here.

It was here.
It was here.

His grave is here
with me, it’s here.

- His grave is here?
- Yes.

- And did he speak Kayapó well?
- He spoke it very well.

He learned everything we have.
Because he grew up with us here,

and learned everything.



at that time, all they did was fight.

- Just fights.
- Yes, just fights.

Fights amongst themselves,
they fought other tribes and the whites.

Because, first of all, when
the Portuguese arrived,

they became our enemies.

So we became their enemies, too.

- You did?
- Yes.

And they never stopped
fighting the whites

because they killed a lot of
our people, many of them.

They took away
women and children.

So the Indians never forget.

We never forget.

So we have fought.

That’s why our people take them.

When our people attack
the mother and father,

we have to take
the child to raise, right?

Yes, because if you don’t, the child
doesn’t have a mother or father?

Yes, and we feel pity...
and take them... as a reminder.

- As a reminder, right?
- Yes, as a reminder, too.

Whoever’s a warrior,
to remember, right?

You have to show your memento.

To say: “That one there, I got into a fight,
took that child to raise.”

That’s why people take them.

That’s how they got João...

My father took João.

In 1940, president Getúlio Vargas
launches the March to the West,

in a drive to occupy central Brazil,
populated by indigenous tribes.

Thirteen years later, when
the Villas-Bôas brothers carry out...

the so-called pacification
of the feared Kayapó Indians

on the Xingu River,

they spot a young boy
with no indigenous features

in the middle of the tribe.

His name is João Kramura.

João was taken from his parents
by he Kayapó

when he was ten years old,

in 1945.

Soon after his contact with
the Villas-Bôas brothers,

he loses another family.

I’ve wanted to make a movie
about João for a long time.

In 2005, I went to the
Xingu to find him

and I discovered that he had died
only a few weeks earlier.

Years later, I met Thini-á.

Thini-á was born
in the Fulni-ô tribe

and left his village
when he was 15.

Ever since, he has
lived in Brazil’s largest cities.

Thini-á and João are from
different regions and tribes,

but share the experience of
moving between two worlds.

I have invited Thini-á to join me
on our trip to central Brazil,

in search of João’s past.

I am hopeful he can guide me
through the twists and turns...

...of a culture that is
so unfamiliar to me.

I saw...

the white man kill my uncles...

my mother’s two brothers, you
know, right in front of me.

So... all this sadness I had

and I wanted to transform all that...

into something else,
that rage I had,

all that hate,

the disgust...


...when they burned our houses.

The farmers burned our houses.


We didn’t do anything...
What did we do?

For me that was very unfair,

because I didn’t understand why
they did it. Because there was no “why”.

No, today I understand why,
but back then I didn’t.

And for me to transform that,

I had to leave,
and I didn’t know where I was going.

Because I knew that
I couldn’t stay there.

João was taken from the other
side of the Tapirapé River,

but at the time there
was no one there,

it was when people were
arriving and coming in, you know.

So they were told by my father
to be careful because...

that was Indian land,
so they needed to be aware.

They wanted to set up ranches,
and went to get straw

on the other side
of the Tapirapé river.

So they sent the boys.

When they were there
fetching the straw,

the Indians appeared,

and they took João Kramura.

They carried him away

and killed the other boy
and left him there.

I see.


It was getting late for them to come home,
so everyone started to worry.

The residents said,
“Let’s go see what happened”.

So they went and found the boy.

But the Indians had already left and
had taken João to their village.

João and his brother José lost their
parents at a young age.

They were raised by their older
sister, Joana,

and by her husband
Antônio Barroso.

In 1940, they moved to Luciara,

the first non-indigenous community
founded halfway along the Araguaia River,

in Mato Grosso state.

When they took João,
where were you?

When you heard the news...

We were at home.

That’s the one thing
I’ll never forget...

the day the Indians got him,
when they took him away.


That horrible feeling we had,

of our brother disappearing
and we thought about his situation,

what he was going through:
no shelter, no nothing.

That was very difficult for us.

It was very hard for us at that time
to control ourselves.

My older sister cried a lot.

When you’re a young boy you... get over the memory
of what happened,

but it’s harder for older people to
forget so quickly, you know.

The shock stays for a while.
It was very difficult.

So my uncle got together with
my brother-in-law and a few other men,

and they went to see
if they could find him

but unfortunately they couldn’t find
any trace of them.

I didn’t have much with me. I remember
I didn’t even have a lot of clothes at all.

I had two pairs of shorts,
two swim trunks.

I didn’t have a lot of clothes,
no much at all

Very little.

So I only had a little backpack,
it was very simple.

There wasn’t much for me to carry.


I remember that I was amazed
when I saw Brasília.

I saw those beautiful buildings,

I thought that all the whites
were united,

that they all liked
each other very much.

That really impressed me.

I said: “Wow!”
Because of the architecture,

the architecture of the city,

the houses one on top of the other...

...the buildings.

I was like: “Wow!

They like each other so much
that they live on top of each other.”

That’s how I saw it.

A union, that’s how it came across
to me: a union,

that kind of architecture.

And I was happy and thought:
“I have to...

I have to become part of all this.
I have to get into it all.”

What is your relation to him?
Was he your son?

My nephew,
he was like my nephew.

It was my brother Kromare
who took him.

You uncle and your father...

they captured him together
on the first trip.

And they killed a white man.
They thought the boy was armed...

They killed the unarmed white,
and brought the boy.

Do you remember the first time
they painted him,

they gave him a headdress, that
they performed some ritual for João?

When João arrived,
who painted him?

Did they make a headdress for him?

Yes, your father made him
a headdress and he wore it.

And he even danced the ritual
to fight the white man.

He played with the children
who were the same age.

Who are they?

It was with Ngotyk...

Ngotyk and...?

Your cousin Ropni?

Yes, and and also with your uncle
the white man killed.

Even João sang the war song
to kill the white man.

That’s what João sang.

When they made first contact with
the Kayapó, in 1953, on the Xingu river,

the Villas-Bôas brothers wanted
to prepare the tribe for the collision

resulting from the expansion
of cattle farming

that advanced through
central Brazil.

A collision that would prove to be
devastating to the tribe.

João does not appear in the footage
that records the contact.

Sandals didn’t even
exist at that time.

Let’s live like they did
at that time: no sandals!

Tomorrow I’m going to collect
everyone’s sandals.

You can get them all, then all
the women will dance barefoot.

They’ll have to dance barefoot.


...made the first contact with...

...with my people here.

This is where they
landed their boat.


this is where all the women...

were dancing,


for Orlando Villas-Bôas,
and for his team.

- For his team?
- Yes.

So, it must have been difficult,
at the time, no?

Many people died.

Yes, an awful part is that...

all those people who were dancing here
at that time, you know...

a year later I think
they got sick and...

all those people we saw yesterday
in the movie died.

The ones who had contact,
they all died?

Yes, they all died here,
at this village here. So...

My parents had to run away with us

so we wouldn’t die.

And it was here that Orlando,

during the second or third contact,
he met João.

When Orlando talked about taking João,

he didn’t want to leave.

But my uncle Kromare
speaking with another uncle of mine...

- They convinced him...
- They convinced him to go

to bring back material...
materials from the white man.

- Was there a negotiation?
- Yes.

- That’s why he took João.
- He took João with him?

Yes, he took João with him
and left him there.

So only my uncle Kromare
came back home.

- My parents asked him, “Where is he?"
- "Where is João?”

“Ah, he stayed with his relatives.”

After spending eight years
among the Kayapó,

João was taken by plane to Luciara.

He was 18 years old
and wore a lip plate.

Orlando Villas-Bôas thought that
João was still young enough

to readapt to the society
he was taken from.

On the way to Luciara,

Thini-á talks to me about Ouricuri,

the Fulni-ô ritual that makes him
return every year to his community.

During the ritual, the whole tribe
leaves the village

and isolates itself from the world
for three months,

and lives according to
the ancestral customs.

I disappeared.

My mother went to São Paulo.

A little old lady, on the bus,
for three days...

to appear on a famous talk show,
in order to find me.

That’s how serious the situation
had become.

I provoked this, I have these...

And no one can understand it.
That's why people judge me.

People say to me...

that I abandoned the ritual...
I didn’t go for ten years.

No one does that. It’s really
hard for someone to do that,

not go to the Fulni-ô
ritual for ten years,

because it’s very important for us.

They can’t understand...

...the courage I had.

Excuse me, sir

While I tell you my story

I’m coming from the northeast

And my struggle is sad

But I was once very happy

Living where I was born

I had a good horse

I liked camping out

And I herded cattle all day
To the gate of the corral

Yeah, the dairy cow

Oh, long horn bull

I’m a son of the northeast,

I don’t deny my heritage

But a terrible drought

Brought me from there to here

Orlando Villas-Bôas describes in detail
João’s return to Luciara

in the book “The March to the West”.

He writes:

“News traveled quickly and in no time
our host’s house was full.

Many of them were João’s relatives.

A movement outside
caught our attention.

We asked what had happened.

“Antônio is arriving”,
responded someone.

João stood up and surprised us

and warmly greeted Barroso,
his brother-in-law and godfather.

Moments later Joaninha came in, Antônio’s
wife, João’s sister and godmother.

The godson smiled calmly
and hugged his sister back.

It all happened quickly.

Joaninha disappeared in a hurry
out the back door,

and was quite emotional.

If you grew up there,
you know the story about João?

Yes, I know about
João Kramura’s story, I do.

- When he came back, were you there?
- Yes. I’ve lived here my whole life.

- He didn’t know how to talk...
- No. And they spoke with him...

until he was able to speak again,

- it was like that.
- He was shy... he spoke Kayapó?

Yes, only Kayapó.

He said things like: “meitira”.
“Meitira” is pretty.

“Ingrá” is banana.
“Karpon” is turtle.

- He taught me a few words.
- João?

Yes, I talked a lot with him.
We worked together.

“Bacuni menê” is to do that “thing”,
you know?

- Yes, to have sex.
- Yes, sex.

- “Bacuni”?
- “Bacuni menê”.

- I understand.
- But he didn’t know how to sing.

- Only Kayapó songs?
- Yes, only Kayapó songs.

- He didn’t sing white men’s songs?
- No! He didn’t know how anymore, son.

He didn’t know anything else.

He only learned that.

The Indians would come here.
We would sing.

The Indians would line up like this...

Holding hands.
Let me show you.

It was like this.

Like that.
I sang with them a lot.

To visit João, the Kayapó
walked the 250 km on foot

between the Xingu and Luciara.

The tribe, feared in
the region until then,

became a familiar
site to the villagers.


João became the link
between the two communities.

So the Indians discovered that he...
they came and found him here.

So every year the Indians would come
to visit him here.

They would spend days
sleeping with us.

We would swim in the river.
My father would let us go down...

to the Araguaia River with them.
They carried us on their backs.

Yes they did.

João was with us.

When they got back here,
they wouldn’t leave João for anything.

They went together everywhere.

Son, I saw how strong they were.
They went from the Xingu...

all the way here on foot.
Every year, they made the trip.

I ask myself:

when João came back to Luciara,
which was called Mato Verde

Yes, Mato Verde.

Did he...

Do you think he adapted, or did he want
to go back to the Kayapó?

He wanted to go back,
he really felt it.

He was already adapted there...

He... He didn’t like being around us.

But did you ask him
why he wanted to go back?

He said he saw so many
beautiful things in the forest.

They would go out on wild pig hunts,
he would tell us about.

And every time they went out,
they took him on those adventures.

Until they took him
once and for all.

In 1963, after spending ten years
away from his adoptive tribe,

João returned to the Xingu.

If he had been so close
to the Kayapó,

why hadn’t he left Luciara
during the tribe’s first visit?

So you’re married to a Fulni-ô
there in the village? No?

- No. I’ve been living in Rio for a while.
- Oh, you live in Rio.

Yes, in Rio de Janeiro.
Working in schools...

Bringing indigenous culture
to the schools,

to universities. You know?

Is there discrimination
from people in the city

- against the Karajá people here?
- No.

- There isn’t?
- No, there isn’t.

- My people suffer from discrimination.
- Really?

Thini-á tells me he misses
his daughter, Nahyra.

She lives in Rio de Janeiro
with her mother,

who doesn’t belong
to the Fulni-ô tribe.

Thini-á regrets not initiating
Nahyra into the Ouricuri

when she was young.

That’s the only way she could
participate in the ritual

reserved for members of the tribe.


- Hayaya.
- What?

- Arara?
- Hayaya.


Do you want a cookie?

- Mom made some today.
- No.

So how are you?

- What?
- How are you doing?

How are you doing?

I’m good, and you?

I’m a long way away, in the jungle.
Is it very hot in Rio?

- No, it’s actually cold here.
- It’s cold?!

It’s hot as hell here!
Super hot!

Think about it!
Mato Grosso is hot.

I was here in this heat and thought:
“I wanted to see Nahyra, I’ll...

I'll give her...
I’ll call her.”

So I looked for a LAN-house here,
but I couldn’t hook it up because...

the thing wasn’t... wasn’t green.

And you can only talk when it’s green.
If it's not...

I’m not very good
with these things.

Now the image is clear.
Now I can see you well.

But it was a bit blurry,
it was kind of...

Are you still there?

- The camera...
- Sometimes it freezes and I can't...

It’s normal...
it must be the connection.

- But...
- When...

Can you see me okay?

After the show on the river beach
in Luciara,

Thini-á shows me the pictures he took...

of the young people
of the neighboring villages.

He tells me he sees sadness
in their faces

and he comes across the same looks
on the young people in his village.

I remember a...
a simpler Fulni-ô.

I was born in a thatched hut,
for example.

I couldn’t find any more
thatched huts. You know?

I can feel there’s a...

a change, more modernism.

And if they’re forgetting,

or if they’re not valuing,

if the young Fulni-ô aren’t worried
about their culture,

why would they give value
to what I’m doing?

Because there’s more of
an individual thought.

You know?

For me to talk to them about this,
the things I talk about,

they ask: “Ok then,
why don’t you live here then?"

I say: “Because my story
is different than yours."

You know that,

the more you... things,
the more you know,

the more you suffer, right?

The more powerless you feel.

As unbelievable as that may be.

My mother suffered less
than I do,

a lot less.

Because she had no idea
about this...

about what the world is like,
she had no vision of the complexity...

...of society, of the world.

So my mother suffered less.

While João was gone,

the Xingu Indigenous Park
was founded

and the city of São José rose up
around its borders.

Back with his adoptive tribe,
he would come to the small town,

as many of the Kayapó did.

During each visit, João would stay
with relatives who had left Luciara

to work in the region.

At Luciara they told me that
João used to work with...

- On the ferry.
- On the ferry, yes.

- Yes, my father told me about him.
- He used to be around here, didn’t he?

Because of the distance.

Yes, he would stay...
My mother has the Xingu hotel,

he would always stay there,
for many days.

When he was tired of staying
with the Indians, he would come here.

He would stay one or two weeks
and would go back home.

Do you have a picture of him?
Any documents?

I have his identification card.

Bedjai gave us his ID card.

Since we were relatives,
he gave it to us.

I think his ID’s in the office.

- And his things?
- They left his things at the wake.

The Indians left everything:
clothes, bags, luggage,

they put everything in...
in his grave.

It was here...

I think it might be at home.
They took it.

When you get back from Xingu,
I’ll show it to you.

Who are these people?
They caught my attention.

Here’s a picture of Raoni young,
at fifteen years old.

There are so many pictures
and João’s not in any.

It would be hard...

Look at the ferry: that’s the ferry
my father worked on at the time.

This ferry here?
So João must have worked on it,

- probably on this ferry here?
- Yes, on this one.

It’s the oldest ferry.

You live in a village
where you have to...

survive on what you hunt and fish.

Suddenly you enter a world
where you have Coca-Cola,

where you have rice,

and where there’s chicken,
the things they like the most.

And coffee.

And for him to take
those things back,

he had to have money.

Do you think he was confused, having to
live in these two worlds?

It’s because he got used to our things,
but his roots were back there.

The mother who raised him,
his family was the Kayapó, in fact.

The first day he got here,

the way he fed himself was...

It was actually good to see.
Because I like people who... You know?

He had to have that rice, those beans,
it was too much, the coffee,

he filled his cup with coffee,
like the Kayapó do... used to do,

today they’re more...

...more civilized, see?

But that’s how it was back then.

But did João talk about
the difficulties?

- Did he ever talk about the difficulties?
- No, but he would come here.

He would say: “Well, Pedro...

I need some money
to buy this or that.”

So, he didn’t talk about...
But he said he needed things.

My father said: “Let’s go to
the farm, you work for a month,

and I’ll pay you
and you buy your things.

And he became that thing:
not Indian, not white. You know?


Where are you?

You didn’t go to
the Ouricuri, did you?

Is the village weird?
Is the village weird with the...

the people?

But are there people moving
to the Ouricuri?

Are there people going to
the Ouricuri, moving there?

I remember my mother
used to do that.

She would go...
In an instant she would go.

When I’m there
I miss it here,

and when I’m here
I miss it there.

I have to live with...

with that problem.

There where I was raised,
where I played,

where I was born.

I live with these confusing thoughts,
and feelings, you know?

I don’t even understand it.
The why of it.

In Luciara, Thini-á invited José
to visit for the first time

his brother’s adoptive tribe.

To take José to Bedjai’s village,
we took the ferry one more time

that provides access
to the Xingu Indigenous Park.

On this ferry,
between one bank and the other,

João used to repeat the trip
between two worlds.

- Hello.
- How are you?

- Hello.
- Hello.

How are you doing?

This is João’s brother.
This is Bedjai.

- This is José.
- Are you João's brother?

- Yes.
- Very good.


We came to see if we
could show him the...

- Cemetery?
- Yes, the place where João was...

- Buried.
- Buried, yes.

- Ok, let’s go.
- He wanted to see it.

I asked: “Would you like to see it?”
"Yes I would."

Ok, great.
Very good.

I also wanted to meet you all,
who lived all those years with him.

Yes, he said he really
wanted to meet you.

Ok. Let’s go.

After we’ll go meet...

my kids...

all grown up, the ones
your brother carried. Him, her...

Everyone’s all grown up.

Pay, this is your uncle’s brother.
Here he is, Nhudjare’s (João’s) brother.

This is another daughter of mine.

- Hello, how are you?
- Nice to meet you.


- Where is he from Porto Alegre do Norte?
- No.

- Tocantins.
- Tocantins.

The whites live far away.

Now what?
He only came to see you?

He came to meet us and
to visit the cemetery.

This is my daughter here, too.

Come here.
This is your uncle’s brother.

Come say hello.

João often held her in his arms,
when she was young.


- Come here and say hello.
- Nice to meet you.

- How are you?
- Here comes another one.

- Here comes another one.
- How are you?

Nice to meet you.

Well, here it is,
João’s grave.

This one here.

This is his grave here.

We buried him with
all his belongings...

...from the festivals
he participated in.

We gave him everything.

...content, with us, he lived with us,
he grew up with us here,

he was accustomed to our way of life,
our customs.

It’s all here.
We gave him everything

he participated in.
It’s here.

Whenever you want to
see him again, you can,

he’s here, I won’t go anywhere,
I’m here with him,

- Ok?
- Ok.

Yes, he’s here.

The identification card
is finally found.

It was issued in Brasília,
where they took João

for medical treatment.

He died in the hospital
a short time later.

He was 70 years old.

It’s the first time I see João.

The Kayapó bury the belongings
of the deceased with the body.

Maybe he didn’t want to be seen
in this photograph.

Going down the Xingu to
the heart of the reserve,

we discover the land that João
knew when he was young.

We go back in time.

Among pastures and soybean fields,

the Xingu reserve remains
like a small island.

João lived with us.

He lived with us.

He was like a son to me,

and to my brothers and sisters.

A bit too late,

they told me that...

that João was ill,

That's how I was told
that he was ill...

...that he wasn't feeling good.

I told my relatives and my children
to bring João’s body

so he could be buried here.

Because we raised him among us,
like a son.

"That’s why you have to bring
his body back here,

to bury him here, near us.”

That’s how it happened, Thini-á.

I went to Luciara

and interviewed a lot
of people who knew João.

They said he went back there

and wasn’t able to adapt.
You know?

He couldn't adapt.
He missed the Kayapó.

He missed being here.

He couldn’t speak
Portuguese fluently anymore.

He was very homesick.

And I was very...

...moved when I heard that.

They said João would cry...

that he couldn’t ...
“I miss the Kayapó.”

And I got emotional
many times by that too.

That sensation of loss
moved me a lot.

Because I have my own story
of leaving my people

and I remember how much I missed
my relatives, my people.

No matter how much the white world
is an individualistic world,

of “every man for himself”...

no matter how much white culture
has made its way into it,

we’re still able to share with others,

we’re still able to live
as a community

and see others hungry,
and take care of the others.

That’s what drives me

and makes me want to come back,
quicker and quicker to my people.

At the end of the journey,
Thini-á tells me

that he’s determined
to return to his tribe.

It’s the beginning of September.

In three days he’ll be joining
the Fulni-ô at the Ouricuri.

I ask Thini-á if I can
watch the ritual.

He says that I can’t.