Isolated: The Zo'é Tribe

Isolated: The Zo'é Tribe

2000, Nature  -   37 Comments
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Ratings: 7.71/10 from 194 users.

In this inhabited jungle, the human voice is an ancestral melody and open secret in a silent and forbidden territory. The cellphone fever hasn't reached here yet, but their need for communication is as important as ours. It's 8am and one must go out to find food as in any other part of the world. The heads of these families do so in groups, working together and mutually helping each other in order to turn the impossible into something possible, hunting monkeys, and other inhabitants of the upper regions.

The macaque they are searching for are dwarves that are invisible to our urban eyes, eyes incapable of looking beyond our belly buttons. But for them, aside from being visible, they constitute the hunter's basic diet. Fifteen people are participating in this choral chase. Everyone has their place and duty. And it will be this way until death claims them.

Because of its taste, the spider monkey, the largest primate of the Amazon ecosystem is the animal that is most appreciated in this village. But today, many other different species crossed their paths. The prego macaque and the wariva are also delicious. The Zo'é call the latter the kiki, and they won't let it get away if they can help it. They're very active prey and in order to catch them, it's important to immobilize them. That's precisely what they do with their streams of arrows and also why they strike on the trees, making noise and confusing them, cutting off any possible escape.

It's almost impossible to drive an arrow through one of these agile animals but nonetheless, they try it over and over again. They don't give up. After two hours, the macaque are tired and frightened but convinced that the 50 meters that separate them from the ground will dissuade the hunters. These poor monkeys are not familiar with the pride and the stubbornness of a young Amazon Indian boy.

Various young men turn into ape men and elegantly, effortlessly climb up the tree trunk all the way to the top in search of the animals. The village people admire them and between all of them, it's as if they were telepathically pushing them on. After all, the feast depends on their success. They're armed and climb with the help of ropes tied to their feet. Whether from the tops of the trees or from the ground, the Zo'é marksmanship is an invincible adversary for the monkeys. Today, they would have preferred to defy the jaguar instead of the almighty homo sapiens. Sooner or later, the large naked primate is always victorious. The hunters' sharp arrowheads have torn into the reddish body of these wadivas.

In order to return home without foul odors, and also to keep the gain from spoiling due to the midday heat, it's wise to remove its entrails and prepare it for the journey. We forget that our freezers are also full of corpses. Others do the slaughtering for us. Everyone learns and everyone teaches here in this open-air school where hunting skills combine with a fine air for cuisine.

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Naturewonderer
Naturewonderer
5 years ago

Great film. I’d like to know more about the workings of the family relationships. Sharing a wife with three other guys sounds a little tough at first, jealousy and such, but after a bit of reflection it has its appeal. 25% of the responsibilities for the wife, and only 25% of the honey do list, that’s not too bad. She seems busy though. All that clean living and being so close to nature must make a guy, uh, hungry. Do they sneak off as a couple for some privacy, or share the experience with the rest of the household?

Globehopper
Globehopper
7 years ago

If only this was the next step on our evolution ladder, there might still be some hope for the human race!

mohandoss Balamurugan
mohandoss Balamurugan
7 years ago

When I watch this documentary I genetically aweken.i gotthe feeling that I am one of them .I hate this modern corrupted society and civilization. If they allow I would become one of them.being and becoming nature is the godly thing that's the spritualway thought by the spiritual guru Osho.god is not a single man to create all the things .the sun,moon,stars,mountains,the forest,rivers,birds,flowers and the zoes in these every things I see the godliness. Thanks for the wonderful documentary.

Nature friend
Nature friend
7 years ago

Thanks oil is not there ... otherwise western civilised world would have disturbed their way of life long time back

watcher
watcher
8 years ago

On the whole - a great documentary, I loved the fact that the presenter didn't try to analyse (mostly anyway) what was happening and just let the viewer to get glimpses into the lives of this tribe. At the same time there's a slight patronizing air about the documentary here and there - like comparing certain practices of the tribe to such of the western world. Trying to equalize them making the later a kind of a benchmark - but why should these practices be equal?? They aren't and they don't need to be! The practices of the tribe might actually be better, or might be worse or just altogether incomparable due to the surrounding circumstances! And it also made me laugh how much the presenter was trying and failing to be "just one of the guys" like by holding a boy on his knee and a girl just next to him, both looking obviously super uncomfortable and out of their place - poor things :) Apart from very few such displays it is a very well made documentary and I wish there were more like this one.

Silence141
Silence141
8 years ago

Read "Ishmael" and the novels that followed by Daniel Quinn and give this documentary a second view.

Saurabh Bhatt
Saurabh Bhatt
9 years ago

Life with lesser tension, nil gazettes...So simple with overall harmony...What's their average life span??? Hope, rest of the human societies will not try to change their original life....Let them live the way they live...

Nikita Kade
Nikita Kade
10 years ago

Like other viewers, I've also seen other documentaries on the Zoe tribe. Each time I see them, I find myself hoping to God that they are still keeping to their traditions, that they are happy, healthy, and left alone in their own environment. And yet I know that, each time I see them, they've come into contact once again with the wider world around them, in order to be filmed. And I wonder if my wish is a selfish one. We have medicines that could cure problems the tribe can't cure on its own. We have inventions that make the collection and preparation of food easier. Should we assume that these people prefer to be locked in a time warp, hundreds of years behind the world around them? Or should we think we're doing them a favor by introducing some of the advantages of modernity into their society?

The Zoe appear to have such an equanimity about them, such an inate fairness and sensibility, that I think we'd be doing them no favors by interfering with their way of life. Yet all we see is what the filmmakers' cameras let us see; how do we know that we're getting a true picture of this seemingly wonderful Noble Savage people? If the Zoe truly are as they're presented, then the best thing we can do is stay far, far away from them. If, however, their lives are considerably more complicated, and increasingly subject to the problems of modernity, we are not helping them by turning them into a living museum exhibit. They will soon reach the crisis point reached by other isolated peoples all over the globe, when modernity begins to erode their traditions and draw in their young. Then what will we do? What will they want to do?

We who live in the modern world always seem to be looking for what we regard as innocents, who are closer to nature than we are, somehow more in harmony with the natural world than we are. The entertainment industry helps out by seeming to find such people. But we rareIy know how the images on film are captured, whether they are spontaneous or staged, a reality or a rarity manipulated for the lens. I only hope that I really had a chance to view this tribe, even from a distance, while it still regarded itself as complete within its own world, neither needing nor wanting the "assistance" of the world beyond it.

Imightberiding
Imightberiding
10 years ago

Thoroughly intriguing.

Alison
Alison
10 years ago

I think it's all to do with equality...That's why it works so well and the fact they don't want things all the time. They live to create the things they need. In the western world we are always wanting things we don't need and our whole existence is based on inequality. Which may explain why we have so many problems.. inequality. ? There is always someone at the top. We don't live side by side, equally like they do.

Name
Name
10 years ago

this is on old documentary and I think I seen some of this people in other documentaries.I m sure by now , they are worshiping Jesus, money , power, fame, on top of becoming igocentric, selfish,irational hater, and eccology destroyers , welcome to civilitation.

Joracat
Joracat
10 years ago

Great film. Makes me wish I had been born there instead of here.

Shantanu Sanyal
Shantanu Sanyal
10 years ago

just great work - - speechless after looking it - - thanks a lot

bringmeredwine
bringmeredwine
10 years ago

What an interesting doc!
What a beautiful society!
It gladdens my heart to know there are people out there fighting to keep the Zo'e safe from the rest of us.
This one leaves me with lots to ponder....

Krista Mills
Krista Mills
10 years ago

Hey Guys

This is excually why we westerns don't get along. Someone has to try and discredit someone else for there natural curiosity.

The point of the Doc is to inform us of ways us primitive humans can improve ourself by living in harmony.

Stop believing you are so superior. This world has to many guys like you.

valsmit51@hotmail.co.uk
valsmit51@hotmail.co.uk
10 years ago

That was brilliant. Love to watch the next one. Don't know what to look for.

Krutarth
Krutarth
10 years ago

They must have more questions about us then we do them.

1concept1
1concept1
10 years ago

Excellent doc! I would like to know their avg life span. Their crime rate, how they handle court issues do they have a death penalty and if so for what offenses? I don't see any jails? Do they banish their people from the tribe for certain offenses? Whats there cancer situation?