Nothing but the Sun – English subtitles

IDFA Extended

For years, Mateo Sobode Chiqueño has been visiting Ayoreo communities in Paraguay with an antique cassette recorder to record conversations, stories, and songs.

Mateo Sobode Chiqueño’s Ayoreo ancestors worshiped the sun, which they saw as a superior and generous being. But for Mateo and his generation, the sun has primarily become a threat, turning deforested areas into dry, dusty plains—filmed here beautifully but ominously.

A few Ayoreo still live in seclusion in the forests of Chaco in Paraguay. But many more, among them Mateo, were herded into small settlements by missionaries, who expropriated their land and forcibly converted them to Christianity.

Mateo has been traveling to Ayoreo communities since the 1970s with his now-antique cassette recorder to interview them and record traditional songs for his audio archive. Occasionally the device eats a tape, which he fixes with patient fiddling. The conversations express uncertainty about the loss of identity. Is it a problem that the Ayoreo culture is disappearing, or is it necessary for their integration? How important is it to preserve traditions?