STF: Secrets of the Tribe

The field of anthropology is explored in this hugely compelling documentary from director Jose Padilha (Bus 174). The film examines several decades of questionable research of Amazonian Brazil’s Yanomami tribe, once considered the last, purest, primitive society untouched by outside influence. Padilha primarily focuses on the work of two American scientists, Napoleon Chagnon and Kenneth Good. Chagnon’s conclusions and data put him at loggerheads with Good who sees the Yanomami as relatively peaceful people, whereas Chagnon’s career has been built upon his belief that they are inherently violent. The vicious in-fighting in the anthropological community is truly eye-opening and the ramifications of their involvement in the lives of the Yanomami is, at times, incredibly shocking to behold. It’s an excellent film, thought-provoking and gripping from start to finish.

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