When a young woman unexpectedly loses her father, the only member of her family she felt that loved her unconditionally, she feels lost. She was preparing herself to go on a trip to Pernambuco, a place known for its gorgeous beaches, as part of a military governmental program for university students. But with her father’s passing, she feels an urgency to disappear, to go to a place distant, isolated, disconnected. She flees to the Amazon. But when she gets there, reality is quite different. She has to struggle with the strictness of a military routine—waking up at the crack of dawn, having little freedom, and with an early curfew. Dealing with the indigenous people is also a challenge, as she is ashamed of their nudity and has a hard time understanding a culture so unlike her own.
Little by little, and with the help of Izabel, a spirited woman she befriends in the program, she begins opening herself up to this new world. Her lived experiences in the Amazon open her eyes and change the way she sees herself and her family, giving new meanings to family, morals, freedom, life, death and the role her father had in her life.
Aroe Maiwu is a story about dealing with grief, self-discovery, unconditional love, and how one woman’s personal journey to the Amazonian unknown makes her reevaluate her ideas and show her a bright side of a loved one’s death. Through her video-diary entries, we follow her own perspective of the events, and extra photographs and information help create a bigger picture of her life, of Brazil in the dictatorship years and the indigenous culture.