Luz nos trópicos

Light in the Tropics
In Luz nos trópicos, Paula Gaitán weaves together a dense fabric of storylines, timelines and settings, intermingled with indigenous cosmologies, travelogues and anthropological literature. Initially, the director follows a young man of indigenous origin. At the beginning, he is standing on the banks of the East River in winter. Soon he is travelling upriver through the Brazilian jungle to a village, where he is greeted like an old friend. In a second storyline, the director accompanies a group of European settlers. They are also travelling upriver, collecting, possessing and searching for a position from which they can survey the forest and the river. Some 150 years separate the two layers; sometimes, a dive into the water dissolves this separation in the space of a second. Later on, the film wanders northwards again and the layers collapse into one another. Between Walden Pond and the Amazon lies just a cut.
Luz nos trópicos is an homage to the abundant greenery of the Amazon region, the woods of New England in winter and the indigenous populations of both Americas. A film that is as free-flowing as a winding river.
by Paula Gaitán
with Carloto Cotta, Clara Choveaux, Kanu Kuikuro, Maíra Senise, Begê Muniz, Arrigo Barnabé, Daniel Passi, Erik Martincues, Nilton Amazonas, John Scott-Richardson, Paulo Nazareth, Vincenco Amato, Carolina Virgüez, Vitor Aurape Peruare, Jack Manley
Brazil 2020 Kuikuro, Portuguese, French, Russian, English 259’ Colour & Black/White


  • Carloto Cotta
  • Clara Choveaux
  • Kanu Kuikuro
  • Maíra Senise
  • Begê Muniz
  • Arrigo Barnabé
  • Daniel Passi
  • Erik Martincues
  • Nilton Amazonas
  • John Scott-Richardson
  • Paulo Nazareth
  • Vincenco Amato
  • Carolina Virgüez
  • Vitor Aurape Peruare
  • Jack Manley


Written and Directed by Paula Gaitán
Cinematography Pedro Urano
Editing Paula Gaitán
Sound Design Marcos Lopes, Paula Gaitán, Tiago Bello
Sound Marcos Lopes
Production Design Diogo Hayashi
Costumes Maíra Senise
Make-Up Leon Gurfein
Assistant Director Manuel Moruzzi
Production Manager Violeta Rodrigues
Producer Eryk Rocha, Vitor Graize
Executive Producer Vitor Graize

Produced by

Aruac Filmes

Pique-Bandeira Filmes

Paula Gaitán

Paula Gaitán is a filmmaker and lives and works in São Paulo. After working as art director on Glauber Rocha's A Idade da Terra (1980), she directed numerous films herself. Gaitán has made feature films, videos, television series, and installations, as well as documentaries on Éliane Radigue, Ken Jacobs, and Agnès Varda. Her film Luz nos trópicos was shown in the Berlinale Forum in 2020.


1987 Olho D'Água; 36 min. 1989 Uaka (Sky); 90 min. 1991 Lygiapape; 43 min. 1995 Vuelo de Condor; 28 min. 1996 Presença, Ausência; 30 min. 1997 Marta Traba, Palabra Mujer; 28 min. 2004 Pela Água; 8 min. 2007 Pelo Rio (River); 13 min. · Diário de Sintra (Days in Sintra); 90 min. 2008 Monsanto; 22 min. 2009 Vida (Life); 72 min. · Kogi; 13 min. 2010 Agreste; 72 min. 2013 Exilados do Vulcão (The Volcano Exiles); 122 min. · Memória da Memória (Memory of the Memory); 25 min. 2015 Noite (Night); 87 min. 2016 A Chuva do Meu Jardim (La Pluie dans mon Jardin); 28 min. 2017 Sutis Interferências (Subtle Interferences); 79 min. · Mulher do Fim do Mundo, Elza Soares; 5 min. 2020 Luz nos trópicos (Light in the Tropics); 259 min., Forum 2020 · Riverock; 157 min. · Se hace camino al andar (The Path Is Made by Walking)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022