The Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world and for centuries it has beguiled and mystified humanity. Indeed, it still has the ability to surprise even in the 21st century, with reports of uncontacted tribes being discovered deep within the jungle fastness. One particularly enduring mystery of Amazonia is the possible existence of lost cities. El Dorado, the lost city of gold is the most obvious example. During the early 20th century one Percy Fawcett attempted to find another city, one which he simply called ‘Z’.
James Gray’s The Lost City of Z (which is based on a book of the same name by the liberal journalist David Grann) concerns some of these attempts by Fawcett and his mysterious disappearance. Though the movie only shows two attempts by Fawcett – once in 1911 and again in 1925 – he also attempted to find ‘Z’ in 1920. Prior to his attempts to find lost cities, however, Fawcett spent many years traveling in the region mapping out rivers and borders, which is shown in a condensed manner in the film for timing purposes.
I felt that The Lost City of Z was a rather schizophrenic movie, as if its not sure what it wants to be. Its partly an adventure flick but also has elements of a family drama and war film. It was quite a long movie but thankfully it moved at a good pace and didn’t drag. The biggest issue with this film was what are we to make of it in a world filled with anti-White and anti-Christian media? In this sense the film can easily be critiqued for following general leftist view of egalitarianism.
In one scene, wherein Percy Fawcett lays out his theory of lost cities in the Amazon to the Royal Geographic Society, speaks of the “bigotry of the Church,” which I assume is to mean that the Church has looked down upon non-Christian cultures. But the Catholic Church, at least, did a lot to maintain the languages and cultures of Amerindians. They obviously spoke out against cannibalism, human sacrifice and the like but that was it. Father de las Casas, Pedro de Córdoba, Antonio de Montesinos and António Vieira are but a few examples of the priests who went out of their way to defend Amerindians.
The Church in Spanish America was more than willing to use Amerindian languages to spread the faith, particularly the so-called lenguas generales – those languages which were the most widespread and often the tongues of the most dominate ethnies like Nahuatl and Quechua. In what are now Paraguay and southern Brazil, it was the Church – or at least the Jesuits – that protected local tribes and gave them the skills necessary to create thriving agricultural communities, as well as protected them from slavers – of all racial backgrounds. In the case of Paraguay, these Jesuit run communities actively competed against the rest of society, thus earning the ire of the White and mestizo populace. It was a factor in the outbreak of a series of revolts which occurred in the mid-18th century.
The Church wanted to convert the Amerindians and end certain inhumane practices, but it was not about destroying them.
Fawcett is of course heckled for thinking Amerindians may have built cities in the Amazon and in an earlier scene, where Fawcett is traveling through Bolivia, in order to map out its border with Brazil, we the audience are treated to a Bolivian rubber-plantation owner’s slave overseer being depicted as from Dixie. He has the ragged, dirty look of the stereotypical rural Southerner, complete with the drawl an’ all.
I’m not sure how historically accurate either scene is, but if it were true that many felt it impossible for Amazonian Amerinds to have been city builders then this would have been an understandable but flawed opinion. On the one hand, by time of Percy’s speech to the Royal Geographical Society in 1911, it was well known that Amerindians could create complex societies. The Mesoamerican civilization was well known. On the other hand, however, given the geography, soils, climate, etc., I think it is more than fair for people to have been shocked at the idea of cities being in the Amazon. But, for the filmmakers we must focus solely on those who were ‘racist’ and looked down upon the Amerindians.
Sure we are all human, but clearly race is more then just skin colour and that the differences in race, culture and the like are important. Of course, Gray’s movie is devoid of such basic information. Instead, near the end of the film we are treated to a scene of Fawcett taking photographs with various tribesmen with a voice over explaining we are all exactly the same.
There is something to be said, however, of not being just a crass supremacist that refuses to look upon other people with interest, because it can be illuminating to study other cultures especially those which have failed. Sir John Glubb made the point, in The Fate of Empires, that it would have been a good thing for Britons of the 1970s to become acquainted with the old Arab (and other foreign) empires as there was much to be learned from their rise and fall and of how it could relate to their empire’s fall.
Evidently there is evidence of there being large towns in Amazonia, however, as of yet I know not of any discovery of settlements that would be comparable to the fabled ‘Z’ or El Dorado, or even known Amerindian cities like Tenochtitlan. Nor do they appear to be older than Western civilization as Fawcett is shown hypothesizing in the film. According to this PBS documentary many think these settlements were the result of Europeans and Maghrebis moving west around the same time as the Roman conquest of Carthage. We don’t know how these urban centres fell, although Old World diseases are largely blamed at this point, so who knows; perhaps we could learn from their failure?
With any luck as more discoveries are made we can find out who the builders of these jungle cities were. I am not sure I buy the idea that Iberians or Maghrebis were the builders of them (although genetic evidence suggests that the Chachapoya people from further west do have West European genes, but this could be due more to earlier migrations from the north), but perhaps other Amerinds from Mesoamerica or the Andes were responsible? Perhaps, it truly was the result of Amazonian Amerinds?
But constructive criticism is not the purpose of this film. Instead, it is yet another film for liberal boomer Whites – and the Anglo/Dutch/Nord in particular – to watch and feel uplifted by. To feel justified in their hatred of their racial fellows and patronizing attitudes towards the red man. Indeed, for (((Owen Gleiberman))),
What Fawcett is suggesting — that a “primitive” Amazon tribe might have had an advanced society that predated Europe — is nearly as radical as the theory of evolution. It undercuts the very premise of what it is to be an Englishman: the notion that they exist on a higher plane than “savages.” Fawcett realizes that he’s not just searching for the lost city of Zed, he’s — potentially — upending the meaning of Western Civilization.
In reality I highly doubt that ‘unending’ – or perhaps to use a term more favoured by (((Gleiberman’s))) co-ethnics, ‘deconstructing’ – Western civilization was ever part of Fawcett’s mission, but for the liberals and Jews it most certainly is. They have to read such a message into Gray’s film. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if Gray wants such a conclusion to be drawn, given he is a member of the establishment media.
I should mention, though, that Amerindians are not completely depicted as noble savages. They are shown attacking foreigners entering their territory as a first response (those horrid, unenlightened bigots!), engaging in cannibalism and warring with each other. Though, arguably this is all shown in a neutral manner and it is up to the viewer to decide if it is negative or not. For example, the cannibalism shown is highly symbolic. The dead are eaten so that their souls can find rest by being united with the living members of the tribe. Even the deaths of our hero and his son aren’t overly terrible. They are drugged and then carried to the river, their actual deaths are not shown. It can be assumed, however, that they weren’t overly drawn out or painful. They weren’t killed for malicious reasons either, but to fulfill a spiritual purpose. Although, it is also hinted at that Percy and his son do not die that night, but in fact survived and spent the rest of their lives in Amazonia.
I’d suggest rightists who see this film use it as an example of why one should not be too dismissive of others and thus fall into the trap of underestimation instead of going the liberal and Jewish routes described above (although the left should be careful not to be so dismissive of theories relating to non-Amazonians or even non-Amerindians being the founders of cities in the Amazon, indeed they shouldn’t be dismissive of theories that Amerindians weren’t the first or only inhabitants of the Americas prior to 1492), I’d also suggest reading a Faustian spirit aspect into The Lost City of Z.
The Faustian spirit of discovery is apparent in this film. Fawcett explores initially in order to prevent war between Bolivia and Brazil, but also to reclaim dignity and honour for his family – as evidently his father was a gambler and a drunk. Later, he continues to explore and dream of exploring in order to discover truth. This obsession with exploring for the sake of it is very much an Occidental trait. The line uttered by an Indian guide to Fawcett I thought was quite a telling one. The guide tells Fawcett that he and his fellow Whites will be forever trapped by the jungle, unlike the Indians. For me this is a reference to the endless desire Whites have to explore and discover. It can become obsessive. That said, I’m sure James Gray did not intend for the line to be taken in such a context, but I believe that is a great way we on the right should be looking at it.
Indeed, the entire film is a sham in order to fulfill the desires of Jews and deracinated liberals, the two biggest groups in the movie industry. According to John Hemming, Fawcett was not some great explorer but a lucky fool. Instead of the kind and ‘open-minded’ White man who is friendly to all Indians and shuns violence towards them, he actually was more than willing to kill when threatened. In fact, if Hemming is correct then Fawcett was no better than the RGS members depicted in The Lost City of Z; he was a ‘racist!’ The Percy Fawcett of Grann’s book and Gray’s film is a fabrication, much like the Hugh Glass of The Revenant (which I have been thinking of writing about. However, I’ll probably have to watch it again in order to do so which doesn’t sit well with me; such falsehoods). Once again we see how the media distorts and outright fabricates history in order to promote insane narratives such as egalitarianism. How else can they continue to shame decent people into accepting madness?
One really interesting aspect of this movie is how gender relations are treated. Fawcett’s wife is the strong proto-feminist type who argues that men and the women are equal and scorns her husband for pointing out basic facts, like how men and women are not physically equal and that the bedrock of civilization is the differing gender roles. God, nature and the entirety of our species’ history prove this. The audience, undoubtedly, is meant to view this through a feminist lens. However, looking via the feminist angle only goes so far, and one could argue that it fails, because in the end she obeys her husband and stays at home to look after her children as opposed to journeying into unexplored Amazonia.
In terms of cinematography, acting, music and the like, The Lost City of Z is a perfectly fine effort. However, clearly it is not meant to be much more than something for Jews and deracinated Whites to laud over. That said, it does have some unintentionally rightist parts – or parts which can at least be seen through a rightist lens – which ensure that it is not a total write-off.
For me, the worst part of this movie was how German soldiers are shown wearing Pickelhaube in 1916! Furthermore, the British troops are depicted running across no-man’s land with little equipment when in reality they walked because they were so burdened with gear.
Nicholas Ostler, Empires of the Word (2005), 366
The movie depicts Fawcett and his eldest son going on this trip alone in 1925, but this was not the case in reality. His son’s friend Raleigh Rimell as well as two Brazilian porters and a number of pack animals went as well. Undoubtedly they were left out so as to make the final journey more of a focus on the relationship between father and son. An example of the family drama aspect of this movie, especially important given how throughout much of The Lost City of Z father and son are estranged.
Some think that Fawcett never had any intention of returning and that he had stopped caring for finding ‘Z’ by 1925. No, according to this theory, instead Fawcett hoped to create some sort of Anglo-Amerindian commune deep within Amazonia based upon theosophy. Weird is putting it lightly.