The River Between Us
Directed by Carl Gierstorfer • Documentary • 2022 • 88 minutes
The people of the Mashco Piro fled deep into the Peruvian Amazon to escape the cruelty of colonialist rubber companies. They cut all contact with the outside world and entered an isolation they haven’t abandoned to this day. Carl Gierstorfer, the award-wininng German filmmaker and biologist, turns around in front of the river and looks back at those who want to make contact with these isolated people.
There are missionaires, gold miners, drug traffickers, and ordinary villagers, who all feel it is their right to decide on the Mashco Piro’s fate. Only a group of dedicated anthropologists stand between outside forces and the Mashco Piro, who themselves are torn between curiosity and fear. When a murder happens and the fate of the Mashco Piro hangs in the balance, Gierstorfer is there to document. While the story has elements of a thriller, it also reflects existential questions about the human condition. This is a unique story where a team of anthropologists has started a dialogue with the Mashco Piro, who keep appearing regularly at the opposite riverbank. They want to find out the motives of an isolated people; to warn them about the dangers that come with contact while still allowing them to chose their own path into a fragile future.
—International Premiere, DocMX Mexico