Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


Waters of Pastaza & Strangers in The Dark

Strangers in the Dark
Perttu Inkilä, Jenni Pystynen, Finland 2023
Language: Finnish
Subtitles: English

Strangers in the Dark is an experimental film about how light pollution makes a glow-worm’s love life a living hell. Combining different techniques from animation to archive material the film follows glow-worm’s attempts to find a partner in an environment that is no longer dark at night. The story about light and darkness moves from the scale of planetary to microscopic, from the calmness of nature to a hectic city and from artificial light to the green shimmer of a glow-worm’s behind.

Production notes

Waters of Pastaza
Alves takes us to the Pastaza River, on the border between Ecuador and Peru, as we walk through the forest with a local group of children of the Achuar communities. They chop the trees with machetes, collect bananas, take the boat back home, catch some fish, break the fish necks. These children still live in the way of their land. They’re not afraid of some Amazon creatures, alien looking insects or unusually large birds. It’s like civilization could not spoil them and they’re living to their true nature. They’re as organic a part of the forest as the fungi growing out of the logs. But no, it’s not that simple; step by step we witness that there are smartphones and tablets in this world too. And there will be schools, with uniforms. They will be shaped, inevitably. But the Pastaza River represents some kind of passage, a constant movement, a way of freedom and purification. They will change. Yet they will stay the same.

Ali Ercivan, International Cinephile Society

The film explores the concept of children’s maturity in an empowering and hopeful way, where children are exposed to more nature than technology, and childhood takes on a different definition. – – Alves may have cited directors such as Agostino Ferrante, Werner Herzog and Agnès Varda as key sources of inspiration, but it is the forest and the river that runs through it that act as the real lifeblood of the film. This is a film that revels in its simplicity and encourages the viewer to simplify their own life by reconnecting with the natural world.

Melita Cameron Wood, Modern Times Review

Greenpeace opens the screenings of Waters of Pastaza on Feb 1 and Feb 5.

Original Title: Juunt Pastaza entsari
Language: Spanish
Subtitles: English
Length: 74 min
Age Limit: S
Year: 2022
Production Country: Portugal

Director: Inês T. Alves
Producer: Ico Costa, Inês T. Alves
Production Company: Oublaum Filmes
Distribution Company: Syndicado Film Sales
Screenplay: Inês T. Alves
Editing: Inês T. Alves
Cinematographer: Inês T. Alves
Sound Design: Virgílio Oliveira