Series: Kampf um Amazonien

The Justice Boat


A film by Arne Birkenstock
© 2010 / 43 min (German+French) and 52 min (English) / HD / 16:9 / Stereo

For 13 years now, Judge Sueli Pini has been travelling from the provincial capital Macapá to the remote villages on the Amazon Delta every two months.

To this day the Brazilian state doesn’t know exactly how many people live on the Amazon because many of them have no passport or birth certificate. They live in remote hamlets and villages where there are no roads. To the authorities, these people are invisible: they have no access to social services, to the health care system or to the justice system. It is as if they didn’t even exist. “These people were simply ignored and forgotten by the Brazilian state for many years,” judge Sueli Pini explains. With her justice boat she brings a wide range of state services to the population of the North Amazon region. The steam boat houses a court with public prosecutor, bailiffs and public defenders, a team of doctors with a dentist, a doctor, nurses, and a passport office with civil servants and ID card forms.

Judge Sueli Pini has to fight for all her tours: “The cultural divide is even bigger than the geographical divide we have to bridge. Most of my colleagues and superiors have never been here, so they cannot appreciate how important our tours are for the locals and for the Brazilian state.” So far she has been able to prevail – and thus make her contribution to protecting the inhabitants of the rainforest.



Written and directed by Arne Birkenstock
Camera: Lars Barthel
Editing: Verena Schönauer
Sound: Nicole Nagel
Sound mix: Tomas Bastian
Music: Nils Kacirek
Production manager: Joao Fonseca do Valle
Junior Producer: Carolin Neubauer
Line producer: Markus Breimaier
Producer: Thomas Wartmann
Commissioning editor: Ulrike Becker, SWR

A coproduction of Filmquadrat.dok GmbH & Südwestrundfunk
in collaboration with ARTE.

Supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.


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