Emerald Forest, The (1985)

The Emerald Forest (1985), produced and directed by John Boorman.

An engineer moves his family to the Amazon to clear the forest and build a huge dam. His young boy is taken by an Indian tribe called the Invisible People (because of the paint they wear). Ten years later the man is still working on the dam and still searching for his son. When he finds him, the young man doesn't want to leave. He's in Paradise. But there's trouble: the forest is vanishing, his father has introduced a firearm and the neighboring cannibal tribe is acting up.

The story uses two common motifs that fit naturally together: (1) the Noble Savage, living innocently with nature, and (2) wicked civilization despoiling the earth. Dad has to decide where his obligations lie, and how to help his son.

I like the whole thing, although the action/adventure final act becomes increasingly implausible, but exciting, tragic and hopeful at the same time.

What I most like are the forest maidens, comfortable in just a few bits of string and leaf. I wish the disc had a commentary track by the director so he could explain whether they had a pageant to select such shapely and uninhibited young women. If that's a random sampling, well:

Adam never had so much joy
When he saw Eve in Eden

-- Niamh Parsons

Some favorite bits:

The cannibal tribesmen are painted black; is that to make them look sort of African?

Abundant nudity. The DVD has selectable subtitles but only for the Indian language.