Uýra: The Rising Forest (2022) 

Through travel and performance, a Brazilian trans-indigenous artist works towards bring more knowledge of the environment, of traditions and helps youths fight transphobia and racism however they can. 

Written by Juliana Curi and Martina Sönksen and directed by the former, Uýra: The Rising Forest is a documentary that feels somewhere between slice of life and performance art. It’s an odd experience that is highly enjoyable when in the right frame of mind. This is the kind of film that is better watched with zero expections and a fully open mind. The film follows Uýra through what seems like a basic life documentary at first, then through a journey of discovery and teaching. There is a ton in here and each viewer can take when them what works for them. From the education to the performances and everything in-between, everyone will learn something from this film. 

Uýra is someone with conviction, a good screen presence that turns to enigmatic and mesmerizing in the performance parts of the film. This is the kind the of person that more documentaries should be made about. Not someone who was handed things and given all the changes in life, but someone with conviction and a lot to talk about. Someone who is more than willing to let viewers in to expend more minds in more places than simply one community. Their screen presence is magnetic and it should be seen more often. 

The music and dance performances here deserve their own film or show, they are stunning and fascinating. The way Uýra performances and takes the viewer into their universe is how you make a film like this. The cinematography by Thiago Moraes ‘Quadrado’ follows the story and the performances so well, it creates a world of wonder and one where the performances can really shine, unafraid of showing every raw element of the documentary as well as the mesmerizing performances. 

Uýra: The Rising Forest is a documentary that feels like it is so much more than simply that. It’s performance piece with teachings within its core. There is a ton in here and the film allows it all to come to full bloom, from the talking points, to the teachings, to the performances. This is the kind of documentary that needs to be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated, but can also work on a home screen as long as the viewer is willing to give it full attention visually and auditorily.  


Uýra: The Rising Forest won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Frameline and has been officially selected to screen at Outfest next month in Los Angeles.