Restored in 2018 in cooperation with the Perú Ministry of Culture, The Wind of Ayahuasca (El viento del ayahuasca) was the first film to offer an authentic and honest depiction of an ayahuasca healing ceremony.
In Iquitos, gateway to the Peruvian Amazon, Nexy (Silvia Chávez) lives on the margins, sometimes as a sex worker, haunted by the memories and folklore of her rural childhood. She meets Miguel (Johnny Palacios) a sociologist visiting from Lima, studying the spiritual traditions and socioeconomic disparities of the region. Miguel encourages Nexy to consult a curandero (Melitón Delgado), who suggests she participate in a healing ceremony. Together, they travel into the jungle, seeking to deepen the healing in a natural environment. When Nexy vanishes, both Miguel and Melitón seek guidance from ayahuasca, and experience profound revelations while in the embrace of the medicine.
In depicting ayahuasca-induced visions, filmmaker Nora de Izcue avoided the American tropes of frantic psychedelic visual effects, and instead depicts the spiritual journeys as a series of elegantly composed tableaus, through which the camera often glides on a waterborne platform. These moments of detachment from the “reality” of the narrative enfold the viewer in poignant and often profound meditative states.
Melitón Delgado, who portrays the shaman in the film, was an actual ayahuasquero, and served as technical consultant on the film, with his mother Alicia Vda. de Delgado.
The Wind of Ayahuasca is also noteworthy as the first Peruvian feature by a woman director. The Wind of Ayahuasca was restored in 2K from an English-subtitled 35mm print. (Nora de Izcue, Peru, 1983, 85 min.) In Spanish with English subtitles