Confluences. Emerillon of French Guyana
(2007, 86 mins.)
by Perle Møhl
Perle Møhl is an independent researcher and teacher of visual anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Like forceful omens, scientific reports have hitherto depicted the Amerindian Emerillon of French Guiana as cultureless and doomed to disappear. With this film, a Danish anthropologist proposes to defy these negative images of the Emerillon, by the same token delving into their world. Several young Emerillon take up the challenge, and through their resourceful and often stumbling efforts to maintain a life in the forest while profiting from their status as French citizens, they present another version of what being Emerillon is all about. We follow them through communal fishing trips, forest foraging, artistic creativity, French schooling and municipal elections, discovering how they, always with humour, manage to bridge the gaps and make their lives whole. A rare, profoundly generous and non-ethnocentric discourse emerges, one that asserts that; to feel Emerillon does not necessarily imply feeling fundamentally different from others.