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Film review - Tawai: a Voice from the Forest

Peter Courtney-Fitch gives us his thoughts on Bruce Parry's latest film

by Psychologies

In his acclaimed BBC series Tribe (2005-07), Bruce Parry first encountered the Penan people of Ba' Puak in the Borneo rainforest. Here Parry delves deeper into our relationship with nature, community and a changing world. Now living in their first settlement the Penan struggle with palm-oil plantation owners ravaging their habitat, turning to agriculture to survive. They bond using Tawai – a word they use to describe their inner feeling of connection to nature.

Whilst in India, a family of Holy Men tell him that it’s listening to his heart that will lead the way. Parry then has an epiphany while swimming in the Ganges and pleads with viewers to rethink their existence and show greater empathy in order to preserve the planet for future generations.

Parry meets with psychologist Iain McGilchrist and anthropologists Jerome and Ingrid Lewis to understand why humankind has drifted away from peaceful co-existence with nature to the grasp of consumerism. The Pirahã in the Amazon are the antithesis communing with spirits in nature.

Not always coherent, the stunning cinematography and sensitivity Parry uses to deliver his timely message of inner balance and reconnection for harmony in the world is moving.

Tawai: a Voice from the Forest is out now.

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