Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rudolf Schuster

In an earlier post, I wrote about Sam Johnson's visit to the Amazon. Sam was retracing the footsteps of his father (founder of the Johnson Wax Company), who flew down in his own plane in 1935. Another famous person revisiting his father's exploits in Brazil was Rudolf Schuster, whose father had come here in 1927, to produce the first documentary film made in Slovakia. Rudolf made several visits to Brazil over the years as a writer and film maker. He wrote several books on his travels, one of which he gave me when he visited Bosque Santa Lúcia on August 14, 2001. The book, which I still have, is Selva Brasileira - Expedição Schuster II, published in 1991. The attached image is taken from the volume. I knew that an important VIP was visiting the Bosque that day because the federal police had called me to their headquarters to work out an itinerary for Schuster, then president of Slovakia. He was traveling with his wife, son and daughter, two consuls, two security guards from his own country, plus Brazilian federal police officers. I think his original plan had been to visit Belterra that day but someone had tipped him off about the Bosque, knowing that he was more interested in flora and fauna of the Amazon. Indeed that was the case. He and his escorts were loaded with all kinds of cameras and he rarely ever stopped using them. As I remember it, he spend nearly three hours with me on the trails of the forest. I suspect that some of the film footage has been included in his follow up books and documentaries on the Amazon. When he published Selva Brasileira in 1991, he had already published 15 books, plus an untold number of film and radio documentaries.

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