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Women’s Rights Initiatives and Hopes & Fears for Brazil  – LAB Newsletter 5 December, 2022

Firstly a heartful thanks to everyone who came to the Women Resisting Violence book launch! Remember that copies are available online! In this month’s newsletter, we announce Voz LAB Quarterly Dispatch No.6, ‘They Cannot Erase our Memory – Commemoration, Violence and the Arts’, written by Jelke Boesten (KCL) and Louise Morris (LAB). If you signed up as a Patreon, a discount is applied. 

Do scroll down for this month’s film reviews; we have particularly many great ones to offer!
News from the Region
On Women’s Rights Peru – Women in the Film Industry
Karoline Pelikan, a documentary filmmaker and LAB author, interviewed three women from NUNA, Peru’s first association of women directors. She discloses eye-opening data on the widely neglected gender disparity in the industry, even when, recently, the most acclaimed projects internationally have been women-made. The article summarises the powerful messages of the Peruvian filmmakers Rossana Diáz, Melina León, and Ana Caridad Sánchez. Examining the main obstacles women face in Peru in film production, the conversation revolves around how NUNA aims to be a space to start tackling that disparity.

Ecuador – RECLAMA,  a Feminist Research Project 
The Mujeres de Asfalto Collective, a Black feminist community arts organisation, partnered up with Northumbria University and the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito for a peer-research project based in Esmeraldas (Ecuador). The collaboration aims to discover and strengthen afro-Ecuadoran women’s heritage in this neglected border region with Colombia by collecting dozens of women’s stories and promoting cultural activities to share and make their heritage more visible. Read Katy Jenkins’s article to learn what the research discovered. Dance costume, food, cooking, hair-braiding: all key elements in the cultural heritage of Afro-Ecuadorean women
Brazil: The post electoral landscape
In her latest blog post Jan Rocha describes the complex situation Lula’s post-Bolsonaro (but not post-Bolsonarism) government, will face. First there was the question how Bolsonaro’s followers would behave in the wake of Lula’s victory. Maintaining total silence for two days after the election results were declared, Bolsonaro ‘appeared to be waiting to see if the incipient coup set in motion by thousands of his supporters’ would proceed. The article summarises the first local and international reactions to Lula’s win, the start of the transition process and the likely balance of power in Congress. For the time being, Bolsonaro appears isolated, while Lula made a barn-storming appearance at COP27 and made dramatic commitments to ensure the survival of the Amazon. Brazil’s president returns to world stage at COP Climate Conference. Video: BBC News 18 November 2022.

Bolsonarism without Bolsonaro
Jan Rocha’s second blog post on the matter offers an update on post-Bolsonaro society and the consequences of extreme polarisation. The silence of the defeated President only seems to support the escalating civil unrest of citizens unwilling to accept the results. From road-blocks and camps outside military barracks to acts of terror and explicit calls for military intervention, the feeling of a latent coup remains too menacing to ignore. Jan summarises the legacy of four years of extreme-right-wing politics that will affect every attempt to implement policy improvements.

David Hill describes how indigenous communities are campaigning against new legislation which would remove restrictions on mining and logging projects in indigenous reserves in the Peruvian Amazon such as the Yavari Tapiche Reserve in Loreto. This poses a grave threat to uncontacted and other groups and was described by AIDESEP as an act of genocide. Film Reviews

Argentina – ‘Argentina, 1985’
From our partner Sounds and Colours, we bring a review of the newly premiered Movie ‘Argentina 1985’ on the ‘Trial of Juntas’, a pivotal judicial case for the country’s democratic transition. ‘A phenomenal film about how Argentina (..) comes to terms with its past and the generational divide that must be overcome in order to do so’, writes Sarah Jacobs on the acclaimed movie.

Brazil – ‘Pisar Suavemente na Terra  (Tread Gently on the Earth)’
Described by Jotabê Medeiros as ‘a powerful visual experience,’ the award-winning documentary Tread Gently on the Earth by Brazilian director Marcos Colón gives voice to people for whom the Amazon is a daily part of their lives. It takes a cross-regional perspective and shows the overlapping social problems fueled by interventionist and destructive actions in the Amazon. This new documentary by director Marcos Colón shows the Amazon at its most beautiful even as it is threatened by conflict. It won the prize for Best Cinematography at the 12th Filmeambiente (Environmental Film Festival) in Rio de Janeiro. Colombia – ‘Los Reyes Del Mundo (The Kings of the World)’
LAB Managing Editor, Rebecca Wilson reviews Laura Mora’s movie about the story of five Colombian street adolescents. The boys are in quest of a piece of land the paramilitaries seized from the group leader’s grandmother. Portraying Colombia’s past and present social movements, the road takes them through several Colombian landscapes, mirroring the young people’s desire for a more just future. The story shows the meaning of brotherhood in the margins of society – ‘a road film to remember,’ Wilson writes.

Mexico – ‘Sansón and Me’
Matt Dunnett reviews the docu-drama ‘Sansón and Me’, about 19´-year old Sansón Noe Andrade, a Mexican immigrant imprisoned in the United States for murder. The documentary shows a vicious circle of violence and poverty, in which individuals end up being prey to a justice system that erases their context and identity. Director Rodrigo Reyes cast Sansón’s family members to depict his story, adding to the impact of the story.

New LAB books for 2023
Look out for three new LAB titles due to be published in the first months of 2023:
* The Heart of Our Earth – Community Resistance to Mining in Latin America, by Tom Gatehouse (Jan 2023).
* Breaking Free – health, care, and violence seen through the eyes of displaced women in Brazil (ReGHID) (provisional title)
* Clamor – the search for the disappeared of the South American dictatorships, by Jan Rocha (April 2023) Patreon 
For exclusive access to the new Voices chapter ‘The Covid-19 Pandemic: Survival’, as well as every issue of Voz, LAB’s Quarterly Dispatch, plus video interviews with human rights activists, artists, and social leaders, and a first-look at each Environmental Defenders article – sign up to become a LAB Patron. Sign up here

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