VLAFF 2014: Icaros gives viewers a glimpse into the life of the Shipibo people

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      Icaros is a leisurely-paced look at the life of the Shipibo people that live by the Ucayali River, a main tributary of the Peruvian Amazon.

      The film boasts stunning cinematography, including long shots angled up into the leaves of the rainforest, steam rising from below a waterfall, and thatched huts dwarfed by towering palm trees.

      Another striking aspect of the film is the sound. The backdrop of chirping birds and insects makes you feel as if you're there, steps away from young Shipibo man Mokan Rono as he follows the advice of his mother and a shaman in preparing to take ayahuasca.

      "There are lots of men living around here. But they are invisible. We can't see them," the elder tells Rono as they sit in the rainforest. "They wander around here."

      The gradual build-up to the ayahuasca ritual, and the lingering, peaceful scenes full of Shipibo song, make it clear how important the experience is to the spiritual beliefs of the indigenous people.

      Icaros screens at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday (August 31) at The Cinematheque as part of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.