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.
The 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.
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.