Ariel Kuaray Ortega returns to his hometown to visit his grandfather in a region of Brazil bordering Argentina. He wants to finally hear the full story of Canuto, a fellow villager who turned into a jaguar and then died a tragic death. A plan soon arises to make a film about the mysterious Canuto, with the villagers playing all the roles.
Canuto’s Transformation is several films in one: a making-of, a documentary about the indigenous Mbyá-Guaraní community, and a mythical story about “jepotá,” the concept of transmutation between humans and animals. The distinction between the roles of the film crew and those of the characters being performed and filmed gradually fades. What is fiction, what is real, what is film and what is folklore? And does that actually matter?
The result is an extraordinary and intriguing communal project that addresses major themes—colonization, the disadvantaged status of indigenous communities—and records everyday beauty and fun as well.