Indigenous cinema, Ayoreo, emergence; editing, aesthetics, decolonizing


This essay describes one recent Ayoreo film and its production in order to reflect on the wider significance of lowland South American Indigenous cinema and analyses of it today. Informed by the authors’ roles in the collaborative editing of the film Ujirei, the article details how one Ayoreo filmmaker cinematically visualizes a unique aesthetic response to the aftermath of pandemic upheavals and world-ending violence – a response that pointedly exceeds any prescriptive or structuralist approach to lowland Indigenous cinema. In order to better grasp the subjective, conceptual and political implications of this project, the essay aims to craft an analytic genre capable of approximating a cinematic aesthetics that envisions rupture and regeneration as mutually constitutive modes of survival in the face of dehumanizing colonial violence. It foregrounds the editing process as one ethnographic site for illuminating the decolonizing praxis of lowland Indigenous filmmaking. In doing so, the essay crafts a larger argument about the ways certain Indigenous cinematic forms, as process and product, may usefully orient the poetics and politics of anthropological attunements to the defining crises of the contemporary.