Tag Archives: Pará

Fordlandia, an American city in the middle of the Amazon

Photo from the archives of The Henry Ford Foundation/ Flickr

The story of Fordlandia, the now-abandoned pre-fabricated industrial town established by American mogul Henry Ford in the Amazon in the late 20s, is revealed by a new documentary directed by Marinho Andrade and Daniel Augusto. The 51-minute production is beginning to tour film festivals.

Ford invested a little fortune in the project on the banks of Tapajós river, close to Santarém, to secure a source of cultivated rubber for his car assembly lines in Michigan, US. The area was a concession of the Brazilian government. At the time, Fordlandia was one of the most modern cities in the North of the country, with a complete water, sewage and energy infrastructure.

Today, Fordlandia is a mere memory –  as the directors put it, it exposes the “ruins of the capitalist dream”. The documentary tries to understand the reasons behind its failure, which include a malaria outburst, the leaf blight that hit the saplings and a workers riot .

This video clip will give you a little taste of Fordlandia’s days of glory and decadence. It is narrated in English, with subtitles in Portuguese, but some interviews in Portuguese lack subtitles in English.

Also, Atlas Obscura has a really nice set of pictures.

Great pop music from the Amazon

Gaby AmarantosThe musical universe of the Amazon region, that includes rhythms brega, tecnobrega and tecnomelody, is mostly ignored by the rest of the country.

Check here for a sample of  musicians of the state of Pará. The most popular is Gaby Amarantos, a Valkyrie that is also known as Beyoncé of Pará, but I would like to call your attention to Dona Onete and the instrumental ensembles, such as Orquestra Jovem de Cellos da Amazônia.

 

Dona Onete

Gaby Amarantos, known as Beyoncé of Pará

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Brazil explained in 100 images (Part 5)

[UPDADE] – You have the option of seeing all the 100 images in only one post. Click here.

Enjoy this tour of 150 years of Brazilian history through photography and other iconography. Ten Fridays, ten pictures each. You can read the other chapters here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10.

 

Monteiro Lobato, saint patron of Brazilian child literature, surrounded by his main characters in a caricature by Belmonte. Circa 30s

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UFOs over Brazil

Oscar Niemeyer's Contemporary Art Museum in Niterói. Photo by Rodrigo Soldon, Flickr

Brazil has its own Roswell – a widely documented episode in which hundreds of people declared they witnessed the presence of extraterrestrial aliens during a four-month period on the coast of the state of Pará, in the Amazon region. In 1977, several locals reported seeing very strong flashing lights. Many of them felt an extraordinary pain and lack of energy. The rumor was that these UFOs were extracting their blood for some sort of experiment. At least 400 people testified the phenomenon, that happened simultaneously in different villages, some of them 100 kilometers apart. The experience generated panic and  mysticism.

The Brazilian Air Force sent twenty officials to investigate these strange occurrences in a secret mission, named Operação Prato (Saucer Operation). Its leader, colonel Uyrangê Hollanda Lima, now deceased, took 20 years to reveal his conclusions (full report here, in Portuguese). He was fully convinced that some sort of alien civilization was actively investigating earthling activities.

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