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Femme Filmmakers Festival Review: Land Without Evil – Kati Egely

Throughout history people have always been searching for a perfect place. Their own slice of Eden. However, the question should be whether we can find Eden/paradise within our own being? This short film, based on Guaraní mythology (Tierra sin mal), offers another point of view on paradise: what if the real paradise is inside us, and lies in the harmony and unity of everything alive?

The Mbyá Guaraní are an ethnic group from Paraguay and Brazil, Mbayá were called Guaycuru, a name later used generically for all the nomadic and semi-nomadic Indians of the Gran Chaco. The Mbayá called themselves the Eyiguayegis, the people of the palm, a reference to the abundant palm trees in their home country. We see an abundance of palm leaves in this short film which pays homage to the Mbayá people.

Directed by Kati Egely, this beautiful lively film, is animated in more ways than one. It’s only a few minutes long but it stays with you, and it leaves you in a positive upbeat mood. As the director has stated in her mission statement, ”Animated documentary films are especially interesting because with animation it is possible to express the more subjective parts of a narrative.”

Egely graduated in 2013 at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary. Her studies focused on animation, but lately her interests include documentary filmmaking and she has directed several short documentaries detailing her travels across the globe. We can see her interests and passions displayed on the screen, and its apparent that she is a creative and imaginative person with an eye for detail.

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The animation is made up of paper cut images and stop motion, simple but very effective animation. The film opens with a glorious sunrise over the sea with mountains surrounding the landscape. The screen gets lighter and brighter, revealing more of the environment. The audience can see clouds drift on by but our focus quickly changes to the ground level where more action is taking place. There are flowers booming in all their splendor. And there are creatures interacting with the wild, from hummingbirds gathering nectar, crocodiles hiding in the tall grass and snakes moving across the ground. The character of a Guaraní individual is introduced, who is fully involved in the world around them, swinging from trees and walk barefoot.

We can take so much away from Land without Evil, from learning to be aware of our surroundings, and to learning to embrace nature. This is a beautiful compelling film which I found memorizing to watch. It’s also a love song to South America, and its rich history. There’s so much to explore here in this film, which may seem unbelievable due to its short run-time. But trust me when I say that you will be left feeling the need to do your research about the history behind this legend. Egely is someone who cares about culture and history, which is something that seems slightly rare nowadays.

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The music has been composed by Tonolec, a musical duo from northern Argentina. The band is composed of singer Charo Bogarín and composer Diego Pérez, who for more than a decade have developed a musical fusion of electronic music with ethnic chants from the Toba and Guaraní mbya tribes. Their compositions emphasize the mystique and spirit of native tribes as well as their country’s musical identity. They are considered the new sound of the national music scene, and aim to create music that is bound to their origins by reflecting on their roots, on the places where they grew up. The traditional chants were taught to them by the ancient teachers of the Toba community and the Mbya Guaraní.

There is so much on offer here and Land Without Evil, is well worth seeking out. It’s a visual delight, that is a real treat for the eyes. The film is beautiful, moving and entertaining to watch. Egely is an elegant story-teller, and I am keen to see what she does next.

We interview Kati Egely, which you can read on Day Seven, Thursday 13th. In the meantime go watch Land Without Evil right now:

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