The primeval forest is emerald green, and a river curves inward towards an unspoiled oak. Audun Amundsen was a long-haired backpacking tourist when, for the first time in 2004, he met the indigenous people of the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia and was feathered. He lived in the jungle with them for a whole month.
For fourteen years he has returned to photograph and film, what he thought would remain, authentic life. The visuals are spectacular, at times almost mesmerizing.
The expectation of a paradise free of all modernity captured as a documentary became the story of the opposite: Newtopia. With his close long-standing relationship with shaman Aman Paksa, the director finds himself on the inside when the indigenous peoples' traditions are challenged and crackle in the desire for the comforts of today. Related to Amundsen's typical western romanticization of the tough and hard life in the jungle, the film becomes an important reflection on what contradictory gaze we have the others versus ourselves.
Early in the film, the director uses a well-functioning approach where he represents the view that the others shall remain untouched by present opportunities and advancements:
"I am not very enthusiastic about all the plastic and clothes they [the Mentuawa people, editor's note]. . .