In May 2018, legendary film director Werner Herzog invited some young filmmakers to make short films in the heart of the Amazonian jungle, Peru, at Inkaterra Guides Field Station, in the Tambopata National Reserve. Werner gave the creative theme: “Fever Dreams in the Jungle”.
One of the films created there was “Carlito Leaves Forever” by Quentin Lazzarotto. An amazing and beautiful short film (7 minutes) following Carlito, a young boy who lives in an indigenous community in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, who decides to change his life forever.
Quentin Lazzarotto tells more about the film, one of the best short movies on the queer subject we have ever seen.
The story of Carlito
In the heart of the Amazonian jungle, the village of Palma Real on the banks of the river “Mother of God” still resists the modern world. Nomads of origin and evangelized by force, their pagan customs persist despite everything, and the inhabitants are marked by the physique of the native tribes.
Carlito, a silent young man, decides to leave this place, his native village, in a strange, discreet, and informal escape. Without saying goodbye to his family, if not his grandmother just as silent as him, he commits the flight of a canoe to escape on the river. A little further on, on the muddy bed of the immense river, an encounter reveals the secret that Carlito has hidden from his community.
A film whose images are revealed as a poem.
A film made in 1 day with the complicity of the inhabitants
The community of Palma Real is an indigenous community. They speak their language called “Ese Eja”, which means “the real people”. This remote village is only accessible after several hours by boat from the Peruvian city of Puerto Maldonado, on the river “Madre de Dios”. Playing in the film are real inhabitants of the village, all non-professional actors, speaking in their tongue.
Due to the far location and the limited timing of Werner Herzog’s workshop, the film was shot in one day, after Quentin has visited the village a few times. A few days later, after many days of editing alongside fellow filmmakers, he was able to show the village the first cut of the film.
Addressing LGBT issues in the jungle
Carlito’s “fever dream” was to leave his home village because he fell in love with another man. Living an open gay relationship can be tricky in remote places of the jungle, but especially in bigger cities like Puerto Maldonado. Things are getting better and better in Peru, and we can only hope that these kinds of stories can make people more tolerant.