Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is an animated film about an Amazonian tribe who are slowly dying from a mysterious illness.
The following review will briefly explore the plot, before looking at the eco-fiction aspects of the film. Please note that this review contains spoilers.
What is Ainbo about?
The film follows Ainbo, a young girl and aspiring hunter in the Amazon rainforest. She learns that she’s able to connect to the spirit world, and discovers her two spirit animals; an armadillo called Dillo, and a tapir called Vaca.
Together with her spirit guides, Ainbo must travel to Motelo Mama, a giant turtle who carries the world upon her shell. Here she will get the information she needs to help save her village. Meanwhile, her friend Zumi who is the daughter of the chief, ends up becoming the village chief as her father’s health ails from the mysterious illness. But in order to save the village, Ainbo must convince Zumi that spirits exist and that they should listen to Ainbo’s spirits – something that Zumi is very unsure about.
There is a surprise in store though as both the evil Yacuruna and Ainbo’s father have something in common. In order to destroy the evil, it will take someone truly special to assist in this quest – someone known by most of the villagers except Ainbo herself.
Ainbo as an example of eco-fiction
Ainbo is a subtle example of an eco-fiction film, which also blends in mysticism and animism. The eco-fiction element comes in primarily from the deforestation and illegal mining taking place in the Amazon region where the village is set.
Ainbo and the spirit guides come across a mine, which is being operated by the evil Yacuruna. When the Yacuruna puts the hunter Atok and young Zumi under his spell, he agrees to give them medicine to treat the village’s mysterious illness, if Zumi agrees to show him where more gold is. We see the Yacuruna’s machinery moving in to begin mining which is when the final showdown comes in. It also shows how tribes in the Amazon have to deal with powers from the outside world who seek to destroy the earth’s lungs for profit. As such these tribes have to deal with forced removals, killings, destruction of property, forced integration into society, new diseases and so much more. It was also suggested at one point that the illness could be small pox – an example of how outsiders have taken sickness into regions where it never previously existed.
This movie is therefore important in the sense that it highlights some of the biggest challenges facing the Amazon and the indigenous people who live there today.
When was Ainbo released?
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon was released in 2021 and can be streamed on several platforms, including Amazon Prime, Youtube, Google Play and Apple TV.
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