Sunset Over Selungo

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Deep in the jungles of northern Borneo, Malaysia, lies a small village. It’s the last portion of untouched rainforest left in the country. From within this paradisiac place comes an inspiring lesson about freedom and the importance of standing up for the beliefs that one holds dear. The film tells the story of a group of men and women of the Penan tribe. Each individual that the filmmakers follow offers an intimate peek into an isolated lifestyle based on centuries of blissful survival in the jungle.

The Penan have lived in this forest for centuries but only started forming communities about 50 years ago. They hardly ever leave their homes because going into the city requires traveling first by boat, car, and finally plane. A regular day in the rainforest begins around 5:30 am with breakfast and then fishing or hunting. The Penan have a diet that consists mostly of rice, coconut, fish, vegetables, wild boar, deer, snake, lizards, tropical fruit like pineapple, papaya or bananas, cassava, mushrooms, and a few other staples.

The lives of the Penan are connected to the rainforest because from it they get almost everything that they need, including medicine. The destruction of the forest by logging companies is disrupting the beauty of life as the Penan have come to know it. Animals are scarce and this makes it more difficult for them to find meat to eat. Were it not for the Penan forming blockades to protect what’s left of their jungle, it would all have disappeared a long time ago.

A group of Penan from 18 villages has taken the initiative to present a proposition to the Malaysian government. They are suggesting the creation of the Penan Peace Park in order to conserve what’s left of the rainforest.

Life for the Penan consists of hunting for meals and no Wi-Fi. However, their daily concerns are pretty much the same as those of any other human in any other part of the world: the safety and protection of family and community.