Directed by Mark Ellam and Bruce Parry
29th September – 4th October 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Tawai is a term used by the Penan people located in the Borneo Rainforest. It does not have a precise meaning but it relates to their relationship, their empathy, their sense of oneness with their natural surroundings.
Sadly they may not be situated there much longer due to the logging of the forests and oil drilling destroying the habitat.
Co-director Bruce Parry, who produced a BBC series ‘Tribe’ ten or so years ago, is reacquainted with the Penan people, much to his and their delight.
The film shows him trekking through the jungle with the tribe.
Less convincing though is his liaison with a group of gurus in India, who are due to be blessed in the waters of the Ganges. You see them with Parry, along with with tens of thousands of other people, marching together to the water’s edge. I would describe it as pseudo devotion to religion. Deluded souls indeed!
Even less plausible was Parry’s conversation with the so-called experimental psychologist Iain McGilchrist who lives in a mansion- like house amid the hills of Scotland, rabbiting on about the left and right hemispheres of the human brain and how it affects the character of indigenous people.
All in all Parry is asking viewers of the film to re-evaluate their existence and share an understanding of other people’s precarious futures, due to mankind’s insatiable greed.
Unfortunately he is whistling in the dark.
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