Five Reasons Why Henry Ford’s Failure in Brazil Still Matters Today

An aerial view of Fordlandia

40 Responses

  1. Marilene Corrêa da Silva Freitas says:

    Excelente artigo e registro importante para intervenções científicas e politicas na Amazônia . Filme de Marcos Colón redesenha a história de povos, territórios , biomas e ecossistemas atingidos por práticas predatórias contínuas do capitalismo.

  2. Paulo Vieira says:

    Filme sensível ao coração da Selva, rodando o muito! Prêmios mais que merecidos!

  3. Bernard Weisblum says:

    Insightful understanding of the Brazilian ecology that has relevance for all of us.

  4. Joe Rohlf says:

    First off, I think that the movie does an unbelievable job of shedding light on an issue that has seen to have a blanket put over it for people in my generation. Seeing the destruction that capitalism can bring to the people of Brazil was most definitely an eye-opener for me. It is no secret to me that capitalism and the greed for power can cause people to do unethical things, but what I find as bad, if not worse, is the way that people view these past experience through a lens that has almost no regard for human or environmental health. Fordlandia does something not a lot of movies seem to do, and that is view Ford’s destruction of the Amazon from a Brazilian perspective, and that is an aspect of the movie that is monumental to the message I received and feeling I got while watching the movie. In a broader sense, the fiasco in the Amazon has the potential to have far reaching effects and that is what I find most captivating about the movie. By learning about what went on in this part of the world and the terrible consequences that people in the past and the current people are facing, the film, if given enough exposure, has the ability to change the way that capitalism works and the way that the world works.

  5. Marissa Martens says:

    This documentary does an extraordinary job and displaying the detrimental effects that Ford caused in the Amazon. Capitalism and greed have destroyed the Amazon and the communities surrounding it. Fortlandia is powerful, impactful, moving, and insightful. The film is so well made and does an amazing job representing the people and communities of Brazil. Overall, 10/10!

  6. James Bogan says:

    Marcos Colon’s BEYOND FORLDANDIA is an instant education in the history of the Amazon and its fragile condition today. The film elucidates the treacherous idealism of Henry Ford’s ambition to tame the jungle for profit in the 1930’s which has transmogrified into deforestation in the service of the soy bean. The consequent poisoning of the land and of its people is documented by Colon with scary interviews and deft cinematography.
    The vivid and deadly contrasts of jungle juxtaposed to plantation portray the sad erosion of diversity by Fordmania.

  7. Laura Chagas says:

    O avanço do agronegócio sobre o bioma Amazônia representa um desequilíbrio socioeconômico e ambiental de prejuízos incalculáveis. Passados 90 anos e com modernos aparatos tecnológicos, destrói-se grandes áreas de florestas nativas para o plantio de monocultura, em especial da soja. O documentário chama pra essa reflexão e alerta quanto a grande agressão provocada pelo avanço do capital que a cada dia despreza os valores sociais, econômicos, culturais e ambientais da região. Destruir a Amazônia é interferir no ciclo as chuvas, na estabilidade do clima. Parabéns Marcos Colón pela sensatez e seriedade com que produziu esse trabalho!

  8. It is difficult to overstate the reputation Henry Ford had built for himself by that time – whether in Brazil, America, or anywhere else on the planet. In his day, Ford’s name was every bit as evocative of the glimmering promise of technological revolution as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg – perhaps even more so.

    Within a decade of its founding in Dearborn, Michigan in 1903, the Ford Motor Company had revolutionised car production by introducing the assembly line – isolating tasks within the complex process of car assembly, allowing new models of his flagship vehicle, the Model T, to be cranked out faster than ever before, making the company a global success.

  9. Parabéns Marcos!
    Fordlândia hoje possui a maior de suas riquezas na sua própria história e na vida de seu povo!

  10. Olben Falcó says:

    This is not just an environmental history. Nor is it an isolated example of the wild capitalism illustrated by Henry Ford in search of greater profit. No, this is the story of human ambition. It’s a story of how ironically industrial development can make us more ignorant and disrespectful to our environment no matter how distant the borders are. I believe that “Beyond Fordlândia” helps us to think about the result of our actions beyond our good or bad intentions when we try to modify the beauty and the diverse natural state of the environment.

  11. Jonab Gama says:

    Um documentário que vai fazer você ponderar sobre o capitalismo que explora irresponsavelmente: você não medirá questões ambientais e a sustentabilidade da mesma forma. O filme retrata de maneira inédita e com uma sensibilidade incrível problema colossal, mas que parece que passou e passa desapercebido. É uma denúncia do que aconteceu no passado, é um alerta para o futuro, é uma visão única de um problema que está à porta. Marcos Colón, com um tino como nenhum dos que o precederam, põe no centro do debate o assunto que o mundo não pode ignorar.

  12. Túlio Zille says:

    We often think of Henry Ford’s project as a thing of the past, but Marcos Colón’s documentary does an incredible job at showing that the mindset that influenced Ford’s megalomania is still very much alive. The movie connects Ford with the expansion of soy plantations in a very compelling way. Today the communities of the municipality of Santarém are struggling against a second port that is about to be built in the interest of soy producers, while other port projects for the Tapajós river are also imminent. This continues a colonial policy trend for the Amazon: that decisions for the region are made outside it, and this can be said even if there is local business interests at stake. I see in Beyond Fordlandia a call for us to pay attention not only to the connections between past and present, but also to local knowledges and ways of being that present us with solid alternatives to the degradation that benefits few.

  13. Bruno Avelino Leal says:

    Um documentário histórico crítico sobre as ambições do Magnata Henry Ford no coração da Amazonia. Trazendo a tona questões que estao no ordem do dia sobre os projetos de desenvolvimento mas que por outro lado acaba interferindo nas biodiversidade e mesmo populaçoes tradicionais.

  14. MARCOS COLON says:

    Dear Mr. Albert Trotter

    Thank you for your comment to my post…

    Henry Ford unquestionably left a deep impact on industry worldwide.

    Ford was not perfect and his impact had both positive and negative effects.

    The impact of the generous $5 a day salary for auto workers in Detroit should also be viewed in the light of the diminished welfare of indigenous peoples of the Amazon forest.

    Now that Cargill has a thriving soy business in the Amazon area it will be helpful to use Ford’s experience as the basis for avoiding similar problems as those created by Ford despite the best of intentions.

    Currently, there are plans to dam up the Amazon and its tributaries at 150 locations…

  15. ERIK JENNINGS says:

    Marcos Colón’s Beyond Fordlandia is a thought-provoking documentary that stirs the emotions, involving us in a sense of belonging to the Amazonian world and to this small fragile planet. Watching this movie is to feel the wonder of nature, yet simultaneously understand how socio-economic relationships destroy the environment and ultimately, kill; not only the forest, not only the eco-system, but the very people living as one with nature.
    The documentary connects the mistakes of the past, beginning with Henry Ford, to the great deceptions of today. It provides enough power to light a flame in each of us to fight for greater equality and policies increasing the security of the environment and the Amazonian people.
    Marcos Colón is a passionate observer who has deep knowledge of the Amazonian world. I was a witness to him striving to make this film – the sleepless nights, the endless research and the dangerous interviews could not prevent the realization of this wonderful work; the data collected leading to moments of indignation and revolt. All this was carefully managed with reason, but without allowing the feeling to escape. When Marcos Colón found his path between emotion and objectivity the result was a product of love – Beyond Fordlandia.

  16. Paulo Cesar Ribeiro says:

    Excelente como cinema e documento histórico! Ótimo para informar e formar especialmente as novas gerações para que lutem pela preservação da vida e por democracia!

  17. Nassif Jordy says:

    É isso aí, Marco! Parabéns!

  18. Davi Avelino Leal says:

    O excelente documentário de Marco Colón abarca dois momentos cruciais da recente história da Amazônia e conecta, de forma inédita, os interesses de Henry Ford e seus experimentos com a soja, aos atuais empreendimentos da agroindustria na região do Oeste do Estado do Pará. Muitos são os méritos do olhar de Colón que, ao ouvir as vozes da floresta, através da fala de pequenos produtores e povos indígenas, inverte a lógica do discurso sobre a região e permite uma abordagem crítica a partir das populações locais. Por tudo isso e muito mais, o documento produzido por Colón se faz imprescindível para os debates contemporâneos sobre a Amazônia.

  19. Lucas Nascimento says:

    This documentary deserves the awards already won and many more!

    Ford’s ghost goes by many names in different places and times, and the movie is a very important reminder of that.

    Keep up the good work, mr Colón!

  20. Olivia Kerhsbaumer says:

    O filme é muito importante para expandir nossa consciência em relação aos conflitos sociais e ambientais que ocorrem em uma parte do nosso próprio território que, infelizmente, ainda não conhecemos de fato.

  21. De Melo Foucher says:

    Excellent documentaire! Un des meilleurs des ses derniers temps. Un alerte sur l’avenir environnementale de l’Amazonie qui ne cesse de se dégrader.

  22. Laura Stephanie Juarez says:

    The documentary was exceptional and very informative. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about these issues in the Amazon and the plantations that Henry Ford established there to create his own rubber and how terribly this affected (and still is) the Amazon’s environment, resources and the people living in it. I would like to know what happens to the people that become sick or get cancer because of the contaminated water and natural resources? Do they get a compensation since the production of soy beans in the Amazon has been ruled illegal by the courts? It is extremely infuriating to know that these people are getting sick and even though it is illegal, the production of soy beans is still going on. This documentary is a great way to enlighten people about the huge environmental impact the production of soy beans is causing the Amazon and create awareness for the community suffering not only health wise but that need natural resources from the forest so survive.

  23. Maria C says:

    Beyond Fordlandia is a movie that has open my eyes about nature, human greediness and the reach for capitalism at all cost without thinking about long term consequences. In the movie viewers are able to experiment the changes that have occur in the Amazon forest long ago until present years. Long ago Henry Ford decided to bring machinery and create factories to provide jobs to local communities. Later, with longings and regrets those same workers remember progress and the negative impact it had in their lives. Some of them have faith, meanwhile, others have guilt and doubts. This movie does not only bring awareness of human greediness and its long term consequences, but it also makes me think about other parts of the world, where business man like Henry Ford continue to destroy anything on their way to help themselves grow in a capitalist world. It only show that once damage is done their is not turning back and once we destroy our natural resources or create an unbalance ecosystem, it may take a while to recuperate. Unfortunately, we will not act until it is too late.

  24. Jose Manuel Romero says:

    The documentary clearly demonstrates how the idea of one man can destroy without limits.
    Slowly destroying the Amazon for their own enrichment without any remorse. The widespread of fires, the distraction of human lives by poisoning their environment without taking any responsibility. We mankind should be more responsible and learn from our past mistakes; however, as the documentary can show us we are not and it seems like we can’t stop. If we could only learn from our past and learn how to take care of our environment by learning how to take care of it.

  25. Jocelyn Olivares says:

    I very much enjoyed watching this beautiful, scenic film. I think it captured the essence of the Amazon with its nature and people. Living in California, we don’t hear or see much about the Amazon and what is going on there. It is devastating to know the people who live close to the soy fields are dying from cancer. The Amazon is a “fragile biome” and should be treated as such to keep the balance between the earth and people. Ford is a figure that can be admired for his entrepreneurship but it has come at a high cost. This film gave light to the importance of human participation. The actions we took in the past and are taking now very much affect the planet we live on.
    O filme é muito bom. Parabéns!

  26. Julianna Benfica says:

    Congratulations on such an amazing documentary that was informative and at the same time incredibly put together. Having parents that are both Brazilian, I had never heard about Fordlandia and definitely learned a lot more about Brazil’s history through this documentary. I think it is a very important story to tell because the Amazon is the single most important natural resource we have on this planet, and hearing how the constant deforestation not only affects the people living there, but the whole planet was scary and eye-opening. People need to become more aware of the illegal production of soybeans and need to speak up and protect the rainforest. The statistics of how in just a few years, hundreds of acres will be destroyed was so upsetting and this should be a topic that needs to be addressed. Thank you again for telling this story and helping this movement.

  27. Dylan Colliflower says:

    I think the documentary was beautifully directed. But even more important was the message. Unveiling the reality of Fordlandia and its continued relevance today in Brazil for younger generations is the purpose which the film so eloquently accomplishes. It does a great job at uncovering the nuance that is important in understanding the history of capitalist exploitation in Brazil from rubber to soy now. From Brazilians seeing Fordlandia as their opportunity to have their own american dream, to now letting soy production outweigh the environmental future. The movie accurately explains why people still view Fordlandia positively and the idea that what may seem good initially may end up bad and abandon the people who were meant to benefit. One thing though I think may have missed is Ford’s attempt was different than the capitalists of today. Ford, despite how misguided and ethnocentric his mentality was, intended to do something positive for the population of Fordlandia. He wanted to build a sustainable business model that would benefit both him and his workers. Today however there seems to be little regard for the people suffering from the production of soja and the poison used in the agribusiness industry. I also was left with a hopeless feeling that there was nothing we can do to combat the environmental degradation.

  28. Valentina Martinez says:

    The film was amazing, and I enjoyed it very much. I think the importance of this film goes beyond the Amazon and what happens there, but the fact that there are things going on in the world that bring so much pain, disaster and human as well as environmental suffering that much of the globe is unaware of. This film not only raises an environmental question but a political and economic one as well. We like to separate things and deal with (or not deal with) one thing at a time but as this film shows, everything is connected and has widespread effects on every part of life.The way that the people of the Amazon are exploited, and how many of them don’t even see it is a great parallel to much of what happens in todays capitalistic society. I left asking myself many questions, such as what are the things that could change, and how we could do better as humans. This film sparked discussion and thought within myself and hopefully it sparks action across the globe.

  29. Pricilla Moreno says:

    I enjoyed learning about Fordlândia and more about the issues of Brazil, specifically the Amazon, through this film. The elderly woman in the film said something along the lines of “big enterprises only care about profit” which was impactful because it both represents the main issue of the movie and resonates globally today. The term “slow violence” that Marcos Colón mentioned directly applies to capitalism and how the world often disregards and hurts people and the environment in favor of monetary gain. I think this film serves not only to educate but also to inspire people to seek out ways to help their community and the environment around them. Thank you for making this film and for coming to SDSU to talk about it!

  30. Katia Tabacco says:

    I enjoyed watching this movie because it talks about issues that we might not see with the eyes right now but in the long run we will all be affected. The amazon is an essential natural resource for the planet and we need to take care of it as soon as possible otherwise it would be too late. This film is very interesting because it explains many facts about history that some people are not aware. Ford wanted to invest in Fordlandia to enrich himself and improve the lives of its inhabitants but the way he used to change people’s customs was wrong because you cannot impose and change somebody’s habits and culture.
    This movie can be a good example for today’s factories to look back and not to do the same mistakes that were made in the past. Plants still destroys the environment and the people who live within it.

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