One of the protest signs held by the film cast and crew members of "The Dead and the Other" read “demarcation now” for indigenous lands.
The Cast and crew members of the Brazilian produced film “The Dead and the Other” staged an impromptu protest at the Cannes Film Festival Wednesday. Standing on the event's red carpet, the group led by co-directors Joao Salaviza, Renee Nader Messora and actor Ihjac Kraho held up placards condemning the “genocide” carried out by European colonialists followed by the Brazilian state and big business on indigenous communities in the country.
One of the signs read, “demarcation now,” referring to the need to demarcate and legalize indigenous territories, which face of threats or violent attacks by loggers, miners, industrial farm companies and others.
The movie is based on the filmmakers' experience of living in a village of the Kraho people in northern Brazil for almost a year and is nearly a direct response to the actions of Brazilian lawmakers and government officials.
Last year Brazilian lawmakers altered the terms by which land demarcations occurred for the estimated 900,000 indigenous peoples living in Brazil. Without greater protections, activists predict violent attacks will result in the expulsion of more indigenous peoples from their traditional lands.
This isn't the first time Cannes Film Festival was the scene of protests related to issues taking place in Brazil.
In 2016, members of Aquarius, an acclaimed Brazilian drama competing at the festival, mounted a protest at the film's official premiere to protest the political climate in the country.
Kleber Mendonca Filho, the writer, and director of the film climbed the steps to the Palais in Cannes alongside cast and crew members. As they reached the top everybody revealed a host of banners condemning the 2016 impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Some of the signs read: “A coup took place in Brazil”; “We will Resist”; and “Brazil is no longer a democracy.”
The audience inside the cinema applauded them and defended their right to use the opening to protest the actions of the country's senate.
Rousseff's impeachment saw the rise of Senate-imposed president Michel Temer. His administration has embarked on a path of stiff austerity measures, including a 20-year freeze on public spending, labor reform that strips workers' rights and privatizations.