The Construction of Reality and the De-Construction of Barriers to Action in Belo Monte: An Announcement of War


  • Meredith Cherney Tulane University


Amazon, eco-documentaries, activism, Belo Monte dam


This work examines the formation of discourse in the eco-documentary (eco-doc) Belo Monte: An Announcement of War released in 2012 by Brazilian filmmaker and activist André D’Elia.  In order to combat the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon, Brazil’s premiere flagship program for national development, D’Elia turns to film to spread the cause globally to gain international support.  This work uses D’Elia’s film to explore modern Amazonian discourse and activism. D’Elia strategically frames the film’s images and narratives to forge a discourse that inspires international action against Belo Monte.  The introduction provides an overview of Belo Monte’s history and Belo Monte: An Announcement of War as well as discusses the multiple contestations of the dam’s discourse to highlight the tensions arising from modernization and preservation. The next section explores the benefits of film, especially the modern eco-doc, as a medium to effect change.  In addition, it examines how the framing of images and narratives is manipulated by D’Elia to generate a discourse that attracts multiple peoples, activists, and other interest groups. Continuously keeping in mind D’Elia’s position as an activist filmmaker, I seek to analysis how the discourse he forges through cinematic representation of Belo Monte encourages global viewers to take action.


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Author Biography

  • Meredith Cherney, Tulane University
    Undergraduate Researcher in the Department of Environmental Studies