During his second term as president of Peru, from 2006 to 2011, Alan García made deals and pushed through laws allowing for greater corporate and industrial incursions into the Amazon than the government had ever permitted. Various factions rose up to oppose his administration’s actions, including Aidesep, the interethnic association for the development of the Peruvian rain forest, an organization of indigenous Amazonians led by Alberto Pizango.
“When Two Worlds Collide,” a documentary directed by the first-time feature filmmakers Heidi Brandenburg and Matthew Orzel, chronicles a conflict that resulted in one particularly effective piece of civil disobedience — a move by indigenous protesters to cut off commercial trucking routes — before it deteriorated into violence and death.
The movie uses television news footage, and meetings and protests shot by the filmmakers, who have been recording their subjects since 2007, and recent interviews with former government figures and protesters. They also profile Mr. Pizango, who at one point seeks asylum in Nicaragua after being charged with sedition for leading protests, but returns to Peru to face those allegations a year later.
The issues presented in “When Two Worlds Collide” are so crucial that it feels churlish to characterize it as a dutiful, and ultimately pedestrian, documentary. There is something evasive about it as well. Late in the movie, we see Mr. Pizango speaking with the father of a police officer who disappeared amid the violence tied to the protests, and his manner is chilly to the point of calculating — he’s no longer the soulful man of the people that Ms. Brandenburg and Mr. Orzel have been portraying.
If this is a genuine side to Mr. Pizango and not just a momentary aberration, it would have been worth looking into.
“When Two Worlds Collide” is not rated. It is in Spanish, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes.