Synopsis by Mark Deming
Rudolf Truffino was born into one of the wealthiest families in the world; his father controlled the largest bank in The Hague, and as a young man he was groomed to take over his father's business. However, Truffino had no interest in finance, and upon reaching adulthood he moved to Venezuela, where he built a new life for himself in the jungle, over the fierce objections of his father. With the help of the Pemon Indians who lived nearby, Truffino made his way into the remote regions near Angel Falls, where he built Ucaima, a camp where visitors could come to witness the natural beauty of the wilderness. Opened in the 1950's, Ucaima became a popular destination for moneyed tourists with a taste for adventure, and Truffino's guests included filmmaker Werner Herzog, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and astronaut Neil Armstrong. The man known as "Jungle Rudy" met a woman from Australia who would in time marry him, and they raised three children in the village he built around Ucaima. However, while Truffino chose to live his life in the jungle, his offspring did not, and ten years after he died peacefully in his beloved Ucaima, his survivors begin to feel the call of the civilization he rejected. Filmmaker Rob Smits examines both the public and private story behind Truffino in Jungle Rudy: The Chronicles of a Family, a documentary which received its North American premiere at the 2007 Silverdocs Film Festival, a festival for documentary cinema sponsored in part by the American Film Institute.
jungle, resort, Venezuela