• 50'
  • Author : Philippe Lafaix
  • 27-12-2020
  • Master : 3005

BRAZIL, DUST AND FIRE | France 5 | Les Routes de l'Impossible

In just two decades, the north-eastern region of Brazil, a territory three times greater than France, has turned into an oven for its inhabitants: “It reaches 470 in the shade and 700 in the sun. The trees can’t take it and they’re all dying!” Sand and dust are now swamping entire stretches of land and for road users they become deadly traps. To the great dismay of his passengers, Armando, a bold bus driver, hits the throttle all along his route to avoid getting bogged down. But the sand is also an invisible enemy that creeps in everywhere and the machinery can’t take it… engines get fouled up and blow one after another! Chicao is delivering a precious product that can’t wait in Brazil: materials to create a soccer ground! On the sand-heaped track, his 43-tonne iron monster bogs down in a big way… an unimaginable hell… It takes three days with two bulldozers and ten men to get out of the trap… Only, just one kilometre on, he sinks in once again. Evandro carries children and workers aboard an ancient pick-up. Nobody feels safe as the steel frame shudders dangerously along the edges of the ditches. Along the rutted tracks the old suspension units certainly don’t absorb the shocks.  But Evandro has no choice: he has to take them to avoid the police, who, given the state of his vehicle, would be sure to stop him. There’s no end to the travellers’ woes: wielding a shovel is part of the journey. And to the heat of the sun is added that from the fires lit by farmers. Thousands of acres of forest are going up in smoke to provide grazing land. Improvised firefighters douse them with pathetic equipment: shovels and brooms are their only weapons. All around, vast, arid stretches replace the former trees, with a terrible consequence… With no forest, there’s no rain. A vicious circle that is accelerating the desertification and herds of cows are dying in their hundreds. The rivers are drying up. Seen from the sky the desert is an ulcer that gets bigger by the day. The army is organizing supplies of water with a handful of old tanker trucks. Geraldo drives one of them. He’s off with an emergency delivery to an Indian village that no longer has one drop of drinking water… an epic adventure awaits him. 

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