Secrets From Putumayo
In 1910, Roger Casement, Britain’s Consul in Brazil, was ordered to investigate worker’s rights violations by a Peruvian company leading South America’s burgeoning rubber trade. His report and personal diary detailed the untold horrors of slave labour imposed on Indigenous Amazonians. Also known as a poet and revolutionary martyr of Ireland’s rebellion against England in 1916, Casement is widely considered the father of twentieth-century human rights investigations. Casement was later sentenced to death for his audacious anti-imperialist views and stance against the crown in support of Irish independence.
Nevertheless, his eyewitness account of what actually happened in Putumayo and his empathetic spirit for resistance live on. Narrated by Irish actor Stephen Rea, Brazilian director Aurélio Michiles’ film culls from passages of Casement’s writings, archival material, historian postulations, and the moving oral histories of descendants of the enslaved to connect with the living narrative of Indigenous peoples and the harmful extractive practices in the Amazon.
Please note this film can only be viewed in Canada when streaming on VIFF Connect.
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Aurélio Michiles was born in Manaus. He studied film editing at Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Modern Art and scenic arts at Escola de Artes Visuais Parque Lage. From the 1980s on, he worked in film television at Brazil’s major national broadcast networks, TV Globo, Bandeirantes, and SBT. He has directed several documentaries for public broadcaster TV Culture. His feature film, O Cineasta da Selva, received several national and international awards.
A Árvore da Fortuna (1992); O Cineasta da Selva (1997); Tudo Por Amor ao Cinema (2014)