nonplus filmproduktion and utopia films
in co-production with 3sat/orf
a film by
Thomas Marschall and Nikolaus Braunshör
Grilagem describes the illegal possession of land that is so common in Brazil. The term is derived from a somewhat antiquated method of forging documents: fictitious property deeds, ideally dated from somewhere in the first half of the 20th Century, are put into a box along with a handful of crickets and left for a few weeks. The dying crickets produce a yellow secretion, which turns the paper fairly evenly yellow, giving the impression of a genuine old document. Of course, this alone is often insufficient, and is helped by bribery of local authorities, threats and often by force.
The various waves of "land grabbing" of former white spots in the Brazilian Amazon have left a great deal of human "flotsam behind", and each new wave washes yet once again hundreds of thousands of people into the forests. At one time it was natural rubber, then gold, gems, and other crude materials, nowadays it's the Soy boom that is driving people into the Amazon, with them searching for riches or a better life. The cost of plots of land along highway BR 163 are increasing, a continuously increasing rain forest area is being released for development and one time conquerors are now being threatened with being driven away themselves. In the anarchical situation of the hype, only the rights of the strongest count and not the rights of the Brazilian Central State whose executive power in this vast hinterland area, inclines to be around about zero.
Fronteira Brasil is a film about displacement and the economic interlacing of postmodern globalisation along with feudal almightiness. About a community concept that is dominated by social Darwinism and sheer force which is illustrated by portraits from the life and survival of various players and their social interdependence. The frontier along the BR 163 is Brazil's social Darwinist experimental laboratory, here can be seen what happens when a state just says goodbye or never even turns up at all. Conquerors turn into refugees, and the uprooted are forced into permanently looking for new life's concepts. These aspects and those with the interlocked reticulation of economic complexity are the contents of Fronteira Brazil.