Sequestrada Image


By Alan Ng | November 14, 2019

With the film well underway, Kamodjara accompanies her father (one of the rulers of her people) to the city for a protest. The two become separated, and Kamodjara finds herself in the hands of human traffickers. Her father (Cristiano G. Nascimento), on the other hand, searches in vain for his daughter.

Bureaucrat Roberto, while conducting research, orders a prostitute for the evening. To his dismay, Kamodjara is delivered to him by the trafficker, but to Roberto’s credit, he refuses to take her because she is too young. Unable to reverse the transaction, Roberto befriends Kamodjara and promises to return her to her people, but not before trying to convince her that living in a new settlement would be of great benefit to her and her people.

Corporate-shill Thomas is returning to his hotel after an unsuccessful attempt to convert the people. He meets with Roberto to discuss what it needs to take to change the minds of the tribes along the river, and the meeting is a little contentious. Roberto doesn’t trust Thomas and convinces Kamodjara’s father that Thomas kidnapped his daughter. Thomas is taken back to the village where he is tortured for information. Information that he doesn’t have.

“Everyone is natural in their roles and no one plays up the camera or comes across as over-acting…”

Sequestrada is a beautiful film showing off the elegance of the Amazon river and the simplicity of the indigenous villages. The drama is shot with handheld cameras giving off a fly-on-the-wall documentary style of filmmaking. The acting isn’t that great but oddly feels authentic. Everyone is natural in their roles, and no one plays up the camera or comes across as over-acting in the slightest. Tim Blake Nelson and Gretchen Mol, as his superior, brings much-needed stability to the cast as well as eyes on the films by American audiences.

The most intriguing relationship in Sequestrada is between Roberto and Kamodjara. Roberto starts as a man who will not violate his integrity by taking advantage of a minor, and slowly his mind moves him to creepy and inappropriate territories. Kamodjara is a young woman who must defend her ground, her people, and her honor as Roberto’s deception becomes more apparent.

Sequestrada ends with a message about the harm caused by dams along the Amazon. Not the damage from human manipulation of rising and lowering waterlines, but the toxic greenhouse gases emitted by them. For a film about the treatment and displacement of Brazil’s indigenous peoples, the climate change message seems to come out of nowhere. Admittedly, this is a nitpicky comment about what otherwise is a fascinating drama spotlighting an important issue.

Sequestrada (2019)

Directed and Written: Sabrina McCormick, Soopum Sohn

Starring: Kamodjara Xipaia, Marcelo Olinto, Tim Blake Nelson, Gretchen Mol, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Sequestrada Image

"…"...intertwines the stories of three players with a stake in assimilating indigenous peoples.""

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