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Documentary Newtopia Follows Man Who Went To Live With Tribe In Indonesia

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Documentary Newtopia Follows Man Who Went To Live With Tribe In Indonesia

A new documentary filmed over 15 years charts the story of a Norwegian man who abandoned his life as an engineer to go and live with a tribe in Indonesia.

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Audun Amundsen was 24-years-old when he decided to quit his job and go travelling, which in itself, isn't that unusual. However, his backpacking experience quickly became quite abnormal after arriving in West Sumatra, where he decided to 'go off the beaten track and go as far away from my own culture as possible'.

Speaking to MailOnline Travel, he said: "I got to hear that these traditional people were living in the jungle on Siberut Island and I was like, 'Wow, that's really interesting. I want to see that'.

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"I went to this island - a 12-hour trip on a shabby wooden boat from Padang - and spent a week trying to convince someone to take me upriver to where I'd heard the tribe live.

"When I got there, this guy comes walking towards me and it was a pretty exciting moment. Luckily he was smiling and we couldn't really communicate that much but we became friends."

Audun Amundsen sacked off his Western life and went to live in the jungle - which I'm sure many of us have considered doing at some point. Credit: Audun Amundsen
Audun Amundsen sacked off his Western life and went to live in the jungle - which I'm sure many of us have considered doing at some point. Credit: Audun Amundsen

This friend was Aman Paksa, a shaman and member of the Mentawai tribe - one of the oldest tribes in the country. Despite scarcely being able to communicate, they struck up a deal whereby Audun pitched in with hunting monkeys and bats and building canoes and arrows in return for their hospitality.

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He initially spent a month with the tribe before returning in 2009 armed with a better vocabulary, medicines and a camera. Much of Newtopia revolves around the footage Audun captured across the course of the next three years he spent living with the tribe.

A synopsis of the documentary reads: "Through the unlikely friendship of shaman Aman Paska and the director, an epic journey takes place from the Indonesian jungle to the roaring modernity of Jakarta.

"For more than 15 years, Amundsen records a historical paradigm shift. Over the years, the romantic harmony begins to break down. The Mentawai, indigenous to the jungle, became eager for modern amenities.

Audun lived with the tribe for three years. Credit: Audun Amundsen
Audun lived with the tribe for three years. Credit: Audun Amundsen
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"This intimate, optimistic, warm and comic film is also thought-provoking. It questions how we should shape our future. Aspirations and ambitions are not Western privileges, neither are greed and lust. This film challenges the conventional wisdom about pure and virtuous tribes seeking to protect themselves from modern possibilities."

The film is currently only available to watch in Norway, but you can find out more and subscribe for updates here.

Featured Image Credit: Audun Amundsen

Topics: TV and Film, Interesting, travel, Documentary

Jake Massey
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