Henry Ford's Amazonian adventures, 90 years later.
Written and directed by Marcos Colón, Beyond Fordlândia (2017, 82 min) presents an environmental account of Henry Ford’s Amazon experience decades after its failure. The story addressed by the film begins in 1927, when the Ford Motor Company attempted to establish rubber plantations on the Tapajós River, a primary tributary of the Amazon. This film addresses the recent transition from failed rubber to successful soybean cultivation for export, and its implication for land usage, leading to such questions as:
- What were the actual economic reasons for Ford to venture hundreds of miles through the Amazon jungle to establish a home for his project?
- Why did he want to transplant a slice of twentieth century civilization into the middle of the Amazon forest?
- Was rubber cultivation his only goal?
- What are the ecological implications of this venture now ninety years later?
- How did Ford’s attempt to convert the lush, naturally abundant Brazilian landscape into industrial-scale agriculture foreshadow today’s destruction of the rainforest?
- What will be the impact of soybean monoculture for the future of the Amazon Rainforest?
- What are the lessons to be learned from today’s ecological experimentation and in particular from the Fordlândia experience?
Support for the Film
We are grateful to have received financial support for this film from the following sources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: