In this article, I use aerial footage of the Amazon as a guiding thread to argue that the sublime is the most fitting concept to describe our aesthetic response to the representation of Amazonian nature in cinema. In my discussion of rainforest aesthetics, I focus on two Brazilian films, made ten years apart: Glauber Rocha's short Amazonas, Amazonas (); and Iracema, uma transa amazônica (Iracema: An Amazonian Love Affair, 1975), by Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna. I interpret the depiction of nature in both of these films as an instantiation of what I call "rainforest sublime." Despite their similarities, I argue that the two movies resort to sublimity to convey contrasting portrayals of the Amazon. While Rocha goes back to an age-old narrative of economic progress as a response to the natural sublime, Bodanzky and Senna's rainforest sublimity is more nuanced and chimes in with environmentalist discourses in its firm rejection of unbridled development and in its call for a respectful approach to Amazonia.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 533-543
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.