El Sendero de la Anaconda (2019)—ColombiaEl Sendero de la Anaconda (2019)—Colombia

The locals call it "the Anaconda path" — a huge corridor of the Amazon rainforest that stretches from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. In this inspirational documentary, two conservationists with long histories in this sendero join forces to explain, explore and defend this environmental paradise and the cultural traditions of its indigenous peoples. For both men, it is also a sort of historical retrospective, replete with black-and-white archival photographs from fifty years ago. The Canadian writer Wade Davis was inspired by his Harvard professor Richard Schultes, who went to the Amazon in 1943 and spent 12 years there cataloguing 2,000 medicinal plants that were unknown at that time. Thanks to letters of introduction from Schultes, Davis has traveled to the Colombian Amazon since the 1970s. Martin von Hildebrand has spent 45 years as an anthropologist in the Amazon, and was instrumental in securing land rights for the indigenous peoples. He got his start by battling the rubber companies that were exploiting the local people: "I asked an old man why they were still working there, he replied that he owned a sewing machine that he had acquired 35 years ago for his wife, and he was still working to extract rubber to pay the debt, although it would never be paid." The Amazon, says Davis, "is a thousand shades of green, it's like evolution working in overdrive." I watched this film on Netflix.

Dan Clendenin: dan@journeywithjesus.net