The horrible fires in the Amazon rain forest might bring memories of a 1992 movie, “Medicine Man”, Starring Sean Connery and Lorraine Brocco. “Medicine Man” was about a biologist, Robert Campbell (Connery) who was studying native plants for their medicinal properties to cure diseases such as cancer. He built a makeshift lab in the rain forest and lives with the villagers. Dr. Rae Crane (Bracco) was sent by a pharmaceutical company to assist Campbell. Campbell is disappointed with Bracco because he was expecting someone else to assist him. They have the expected conflicts and spats and then fall in love.
What makes “Medicine Man” so compelling now is that this movie was attempting to illustrate the destruction of the rain forest by logging. Given what we are now experiencing as the Amazon rain forest burns, “Medicine Man” was prescient.
Campbell has lived a long time in the rain forest and become friends with the indigenous villagers. He knows their language and customs. The medicine man taught Campbell about the plants and how they make their medicines.
Campbell wanted to study the tree canopy so he built a lift system using ropes, pulleys, counter-weights, and harnesses. At tree-top level, Campbell can see fires in the distance. The fires were set by loggers as they were logging the rain forest and building logging roads. An encroaching logging road threatens an area Campbell is studying. He tries to get the loggers to stop but is unsuccessful. Somehow a fire is started and it spreads, destroying the village and Campbell’s lab.
“Medicine Man” got poor reviews. Roger Ebert gave it one and half stars. (See his review) . New York Times found fault with it (See review). Maybe, if the film was better produced, it would have drawn more attention to the destruction of the Amazon rain forest. Regardless of it’s faults, “Medicine Man” would be worth seeing now. View the “Medicine Man” trailer. The movie is available to rent on the outlets listed here: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/medicine-man.